The fifth session of the conference saw presentations on Informed and Ethical Voting
which is a relevant issue in almost all the democracies across the world. The session
comprised of .... comprehensive presentations from Election Management Bodies of
Afghanistan, Brazil, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Uganda and
India. Besides there were presentations by Experts Mr Karamjit Singh of Malaysian
Commonwealth Studies Centre and Ms Ornit Shani, Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa.
Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan shared how they focused on electoral
literacy through informal education channels and described the public outreach methods
for participation of 16.7 Million People. Electoral Judicial School of Brazil, spoke
on democracy and citizenship in everyday life and talked about the role of Civil
Societies in Brazil to spread voter awareness, train people and implementation of
citizen watch centres. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya talked
about the 2010 constitution that empowered voters and how the Commission stressed
on the involvement of school children and university students, along with a collaboration
with UNDP to promote electoral literacy among marginalised groups.
Election Commission Malaysia shared their initiative to increase voter turnout,
including registration at common urban areas and the election campaign enforcement
team. Election Commission of Maldives shared how they focus on civic education and
voter awareness through modules, trainings, posters, TV, Social Media and so on.
Electoral Commissioner Office of the Mauritius, showcased the link between their
voter education programme and their culture. Election Commission, Thailand, gave
a presentation on the roles of Thai citizens in promoting and developing democracy
and election in sub-district level. Focusing on the political situation of Thailand,
he talked about creating voter friendly curriculums, democracy tree and the importance
of participatory learning.
Electoral Commision of Uganda, gave a detailed presentation on ethical voting and
its definitions, quoting excerpts like “Your Vote, Your Power, Your country” from
Voter education material. She also explained how to ensure greater ethical voting
through voter education, proper declaration of results. Mr. Karamjit Singh, an expert
in the electoral field from Malaysia Commonwealth Studies Centre shared UK's initiatives
for voter education, and stressed on the crucial role played by NGOs, political
parties, media in voter education and stressed that success of voter education programe
can be assessed in terms of outcome as well as change in behaviour. Ms. Ornit Shahi
of Hafia University, talked about the evolution of Indian democracy and its landmarks.
She also focused on the condition of refugees, and if they should be given the right
to vote. Election Commission of India, focused on the challenges to ethical voting,
taking India as an example, and the initiatives taken under SVEEP to fight money
power and lure of inducement through awareness and education.