Strategic & Financial Planning synopsis
October 18, 2011
Voter Registration synopsis
October 18, 2011

Voter Information programs typically occur immediately before an election, usually as a one-off event. These programs provide basic information enabling qualified citizens to vote, including: date, time, and place of voting; type of election; identification necessary to establish eligibility; registration requirements; and mechanisms for voting. Programs constitute basic facts about the election and do not require the explanation of concepts. They develop new messages for each election, consist of activities that can be implemented quickly and are usually provided by election authorities, although contestants in the election and civil society organizations may also do so.

This module specifically considers Voter Information and Awareness Programs – as defined in this module. This definition encompasses programs that are conducted in conjunction with, or specifically, for an election process. This module should be used in conjunction with the Civic Education module. There is much overlap between Voter Information and Civic Education modules – many repeated (generic) sections – and many complimentary activities. When facilitators are designing agendas for their participants – they should have a clear understanding of the terminology used in these modules (especially how Voter Information, Voter Awareness, Electoral Education, Civic Education are defined and differentiated), and a clear idea of what the participants are expecting the topic to be about. Training objectives should be built around the needs/expectations of the participants.

Agendas (for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-day durations) have been designed that examine the concepts of Voter Information and Awareness programs, and Civic (and Electoral) Education programs – discretely, and also in combination (so both are covered).

The subjects covered in this module include:

  • Definitions of Voter Information: Different definitions and contexts of voter information are explored, as well as related topics of civic and electoral education.
  • Rationale for Voter Information: Reasons for EMBs to provided basic information to voters as part of their mandate and discussed in terms of political efficacy the health of democracy.
  • Principles of and Standards for Effective Voter Information: International standards for effective voter information programs (universality, clarity and impartiality) are demonstrated in a number of case studies and practical exercises. Strategies for mainstreaming democracy into our institutions are also discussed.
  • Developing Voter Information Programs: Strategies for planning effective voter information are developed based on an ‘eight step approach.’ Techniques for identifying different educational needs of all stakeholders in the civic education process, such as surveying, are investigated. Resources (human and material) are assessed; objectives selected and key messages developed using a variety of activities. In the design process special consideration is given to communications strategies, the use of graphic design, cultural sensitivity and reaching target groups such as youth and women. Finally, a number of engaging and interactive approaches to providing voter information are role-played and assessed.

As with other BRIDGE modules, practical considerations are given to program design and implementation such as methods of monitoring and evaluation and the development of timelines and detailed plans.

The module is highly interactive and successful presentation will require full involvement of the participants in a number of culturally appropriate activities. The module should provide a framework and methodology for EMBs to develop highly effective, focused and cost effective voter information programs that ensure that voters are well informed on electoral events.

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