Young Namibians have formed part of an ally of potential voters who want the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to extend or grant another period to register for the upcoming regional and local government elections.
The petition is tapped by Rudy van Wyk, the chairperson of Rehoboth Independent Town Management Association (RITMA) and Whinsley Beukes, Nanso’s coordinator in the Hardap region, with support from The I Am Voting Namibia organisation.
The group of young Namibian voters is in despair, as many potential voters could not exercise their constitutional right due to issues beyond control; hence, they started the petition, pleading the ECN for an extension. The petition has received 1 503 so far and is expected to have 2 500 signatures.
“The biggest problem we had was the lockdown; the majority of potential voters couldn’t register because they were not in their constituencies. We feel now that the state of emergency, and which largely affected people’s movement, ECN should at least grant another week for those who didn’t register to do so,” Beukes told Youth Corner.
The petition highlights that places like Rehoboth experienced a huge difference in numbers at the registration points, as residents are fed-up and want to see positive change in the town.
“Very few registering points were put in place, with only two per urban constituency operating at Rehoboth on the final day for registration,” read the appeal.
It further states long queues, the cut-off time for registering, set for 19h00 – and the registration process progressing at a snail’s pace was worrisome and that enough warrants an extension.
“All these factors will contribute to some eligible voters not receiving the fair chance to register – and subsequently, they will not be able to practice their democratic right to vote during the upcoming November 2020 Regional and Local Authority elections,” mentioned the petition.
It said: “We are, thus, demanding for an extension of the registration period or any other alternative which will contribute to every single, eligible Namibian voter receiving the chance to register.”
The ECN said it is aware of the online petition but hasn’t been physically submitted. It further said this is the first time it has received such a plea requesting for the extension of the registration of voters.