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What is the GRV all about?

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is carrying out a General Registration of Voters (GRV) in the run-up to the 2014 National Assembly and Presidential elections to be held towards the end of the year. The voter registration period, which started on January 15th, will run until March 2nd 2014.
Based on the 2011 population census approximately 1.3 million Namibian citizens are 18 years of age or older and will therefore be eligible to vote in the 2014 elections. The current voter registration process is governed by the Electoral Act of 1992.
Under the Electoral Act, the ECN is responsible for the non-partisan supervision, control and monitoring of an election. This is to ensure that the election process is fair, credible and in line with regional and international electoral standards. After March 2nd, the preliminary voters register will be checked for double entries and other errors. Then, probably in the first two weeks of April, the register will be made available for public inspection. The voters register will be made available to the public at the ECN head office and at magistrate’s courts countrywide. This period will enable voters to verify their details and check for errors and omissions. The process of allowing public inspection of the register should enable political parties, civil society and the general public to be satisfied that it is credible and accurate. Once any objections have been checked and taken into account the official voters register should be gazetted (published by government) in early May.
Although the current voter registration period falls under the 1992 electoral law, it is possible that a new electoral law or a number of major amendments may be introduced during 2014. The Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) has been drafting a new Electoral Matters Bill based on national consultations. However, the draft law has not yet received Cabinet approval, which is necessary before it is introduced in parliament.
The current general registration of voters will not be the last chance for citizens to register this year. It is likely that a period of supplementary voter registration will be held in September 2014 to give a chance for those who missed out during the GRV and those who turned 18 since March 2nd to register. The supplementary registration period may be held according to a new electoral law depending on whether the Electoral Matters Bill passes through parliament in the meantime. This could mean that some of the rules change, although it is likely that efforts will be made to make sure the registration processes are compatible with procedures during the GRV.
Those who still want to register for the next local authority elections but have not been able to do so due to a lack of documents or a deponent (a person who can swear on oath that you have lived in an area for at least 12 months) should not despair. There will still be chances to register – during the supplementary period later this year and also in 2015. The local authority elections are unlikely to be held until the latter part of 2015.
Need to know more? You can email us a question or comment for us to follow up – info@ippr.org.na

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Election Watch is a project of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Windhoek, Namibia. Election Watch is funded by the European Union and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.