OAS Recommends Enhanced Voter Information Campaign For Nevis

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. July 14, 2011: The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States is recommending an enhanced voter information campaign going forth for future elections in Nevis.

The recommendation comes on the heels of election in Nevis this week. The Mission noted in a post analysis Wednesday that to promote transparency, instill voter confidence in the process, and reduce the amount of confusion surrounding electoral procedures, t a voter information campaign should be developed for all stages of the electoral cycle.

“Specifically, the Mission recommends that the electoral authorities publish a manual regarding the specific procedures, calendar, and responsibilities of all stakeholders, increased coordination with local media to ensure the accuracy of information provided to the public, and a general public sensitization campaign regarding the intricacies of the electoral calendar and procedures,” the statement added.

It also called on all parties to continue to air their claims and objections through the appropriate channels to further strengthen confidence in the Nevisian democratic processes.

Problems cited included a modified voter registration list that had been produced for several districts on July 9th, while other districts maintained lists published on June 29th and July 1st.

“This situation contributed to the atmosphere of confusion about and mistrust of the voter registration list that was observed during the process,” said the Mission in a statement Wednesday.

Observers reiterated their 2010 recommendation to “conduct a house-to-house verification process before the next election and a claims and objections period in which the voters list is properly adjusted to reflect the current reality of voter numbers and residency.”

The mission also noted that detailed explanations given to voters and lack of efficient procedures contributed to significant wait times for voters on the day of election, with some individuals waiting in line for over two hours to cast their vote.