The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is conducting one of the major activities in the electoral process: voter registration. Accordingly
The number of registered voters so far is 31,724,947
• Male 54%
• Female 46%
Polling stations 43,017
Challenges during voter registration
Major challenges encountered during voter registration are:• Delayed start of voter registration (due to material distribution and logistics)
• Low voter registration in the first few weeks of the schedule
• Imbalance between the number of polling stations and people who want to register to vote after the start of voter registration, especially in condominiums in Addis Ababa
• Delays in payments for polling station workers
• In some areas (especially in Addis Ababa), there was a mismanagement of responsibilities by polling station workers
• Special arrangements made in areas where voter registration was not possible due to security concerns
Actions taken to the above-mentioned challenges
- Extending voter registration days
- Attempts to strengthen cooperation with relevant government bodies regarding the distribution of materials for voter registration
- Increase dissemination of voter registration messages and information (SMS messages, cooperation with various stakeholders including media for voter information, civil society mobilization, etc.)
- Resolving complaints on VR process that comes through 778 toll-free line from the public and use it as an input for operational works.
- Special planning and preparation were conducted in the areas where there is a security concern in collaboration with regional security agencies. In addition, voter registration and distribution of materials were carried out on May 07 (4 Welega Zones (24 constituencies), Kamash (4 constituencies), and Amhara Region Oromo Special Zone (3 constituencies) to conduct the registration in a special manner.
Voter Registration in Addis Ababa
Voter registration is being conducted at more than 1,600 polling stations in Addis Ababa City Administration. Voter registration was disrupted for a variety of reasons in densely populated condominium areas.
1. understood that there is a time gap to open new sub-stations after the voter registration is over 1500
2. noted that there was a lack of monitoring by constituency office heads at many polling stations.
3. found out, through receiving complaints followed by field visits, that after the opening of sub-stations; the sub-stations did not receive any material and were still closed (for example, constituency 17, constituency 28).
4. observed interference of the lower-level government administrations in the electoral process (placing incorrectly labeled banners at polling stations, giving direction to polling station workers, turning up and sitting in at the polling stations, determining registration by blocks ...)
5. observed that the polling station opened, especially in condominiums, are far from the condominiums, especially in Arabsa area (constituency 17) and Yeka Abado area (constituency 28).
Major actions taken by the Board to address these issues
1. A field visit was held in Addis Ababa led by senior management of the Board focused on the opening of sub-stations and the closure of polling stations. The field visits to constituencies 17, 28, 19 etc. were aimed at observing the operations in polling stations, checking if they are open or closed, and reviewing the voter registration records. After the field visit, in addition to opening new polling stations, 30 sub-polling stations have been opened in two constituencies. This is to open sub-stations for polling stations that have already registered 1,500.
2. Administrative action has been taken against constituency officers who failed to coordinate this work and fulfill their responsibilities. This includes not monitoring the distribution of materials, not properly accommodating the needs of additional polling stations, improper implementation in the opening of sub-stations, and not controlling local government interference. The contracts of seven constituency coordinators have been terminated and the contract of the head of the Addis Ababa City Electoral Desk has also been terminated. In addition, internal capacity building has been undertaken by restructuring the operations unit and hiring additional personnel.
3. We have informed the Addis Ababa City Administration to rectify the administrative interference.
4. Polling stations have been opened in areas of the city where there is a disparity in the number of polling stations and the number of voters (including locating new areas for polling stations in consultation with the administration, distributing materials and assigning polling station officers).
5. The extension in registration days is also expected to help address these issues.
In order to solve the voter registration problem in condominiums in Addis Ababa, we have requested the city administration to provide sites to open 47 new polling stations. Material distributions took place in areas where the sites were ready, and are still underway.
1. In order to open 15 more new stations in Jemo Condominium, we have secured 15 polling stations from the city administration and distributed materials.
2. In Akaki Kalitu Sub-City Tuludimtu Condominium, we informed the city administration to provide spaces for 5 new stations. The 5 sites were prepared and materials were distributed.
3. In Akaki Kalitu Sub-City Gelan Condominium, we requested 5 sites from the city administration; 5 new stations were prepared, and materials were distributed.
4. We have informed the city administration to prepare a space for the opening of 10 new stations in Yeka Abado condominium in Yeka Sub-City. 7 spaces have been prepared so far and material distribution is underway today.
5. In Yeka sub-city Yeka Ayat condominium 1, we are waiting for a response from the city administration after informing them that we need a space to open an additional station.
6. In Bole sub-city Bole Ayat 1, we are waiting for a response from the city administration after informing them that we need a space to open an additional station.
7. In Bole Sub-City Arabsa condominium, 5 more spaces were prepared by the city administration; material distribution was completed.
8. Bole Sub-City Summit Condominium, we are waiting for a response after informing them that we need to open 5 additional stations.
National Election Board of Ethiopia