Poor Civic Education Slows Voting in Lakes State

Voting in Lakes State kicked off on a low note yesterday in most polling stations amid reports of delays and missing names of voters.

Poor Civic Education Slows Voting in Lakes State
Voters queue at Rumbek Freedom Square polling center. [© Gurtong]

By Manyang Mayom

RUMBEK, 12 April 2010 (Gurtong) – In most polling centres in the state capital Rumbek, majority of registered voters were shocked to find their names missing from the nominal list as were reports of initial delays in delivery of ballot boxes and other election materials.

At the voting centres, the vulnerable groups were given priority in voting with the disabled, the elderly and pregnant women being allowed to cast their votes ahead of the rest.

The voters braved the scorching sun to cast their votes in the historic polls under trees in some polling stations.

However, polling staff at most stations cited lack of food, water, transport and poor civic education amongst the voters as some of the reasons for the slow process.

The high illiteracy levels forced the polling clerks to spend more time in explaining the voting procedures to a majority of voters.

The Lakes State caretaker Governor Dr Telar Ring Deng also affirmed that the voting process was slow in the greater Yirol counties due to poor voter education.

“Most voters are confused on how to mark the ballot papers because they can neither read nor write. This is even more challenging as the ballot has to be secret”, he said.

As a result, most of the voters said the three days allocated for the exercise would not be enough and called for an extension of the period.

“Many voters are demanding for extra days due to the long distances and the slow process”, said the head of Panawac polling station Elijah Matueng Awet.

There was tight security in the polling stations across the state, most of which opened at 10 am.

The elections kicked off smoothly despite threats by polling staff on Saturday to boycott the exercise over what they termed “low pay’”.

At Adol polling station, voting was delayed due to a late delivery of election materials and missing voters’ names.

“Voters whose names start with letters (M) were the only ones lucky to have cast their votes ahead of the others whose names were missing from the nominal list”, said head of polling station Barnaba Laat Akec.

International observers including the Cater Centre and the European Union visited most polling centres in Yirol and Rumbek counties.

Posted in: Home, Elections
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