#WatchingTheVote team under the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sustain the gains of the decentralized Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise in Anambra across the country to give citizens equal opportunity to be registered.

While ensuring a common ground for all eligible citizens by ensuring registration centers are accessible, the civic hub dedicated to the promotion of democracy, accountability and citizens’ participation also advised INEC to take deployment of personnel and materials seriously and should ensure that the required number and role specifications as stipulated in the CVR guidelines are deployed.

YIAGA’s observation efforts for the Anambra CVR sought to track the deployment and functionality of the new Direct Data Capturing machines; the duration of time it takes for the new machines to process a registrant, compliance to the guidelines by INEC staff, deployment of security and party representatives.

After deploying 75 citizen observers across all the 21 Local Government Areas to observe the CVR in Anambra state, in an interim report issued, YIAGA said “INEC should ensure security deployment is across the board, especially to areas that are notorious for violence. Security agencies must recognize that electoral security is part of the larger human security framework and accordingly ensure that priority during the electioneering period is placed on protecting human rights, electoral officers, electoral materials, and voters”.

The report also recommended political parties to deploy representatives to registration centers to ensure that voter registration is conducted to your party’s satisfaction while also advising citizens make effort to ensure they are registered in order for them to participant in future elections.

According to the report “Civil society must continue to encourage citizens to remain engaged and to register for the coming elections. CSOs should intensify voter education campaigns for eligible voters on the need not to register twice and the consequences or dangers involved”.

Informed by the need to deepen electoral integrity and accountability, YIAGA deploys citizens’ observers to observe the conduct of activities within the electoral cycle. Thus the need to decentralize the CVR also tailed YIAGA’s previous recommendations as captured in its report on the observation of the nationwide CVR exercise for the periods April – May 2017. YIAGA observed congestion of local government area registration centers without adequate provision of equipment and materials to cater for the teeming crowd who wanted to be registered, YIAGA also drew attention to the fact that concentration of registration centers in the LGA’s could discourage citizens who are residing far from the LGA’s headquarters from taking part in the process.

YIAGA’s #WatchingTheVote is an advanced election observation methodology that uses well-established statistical principles and sophisticated information technology for reporting and assessment of electoral activities. Using this methodology, YIAGA provides the most timely and accurate information on the conduct of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and Transfer of Registered Voters.

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