Voting Information for Voters

A voter can only participate in an election and elect a party or candidate if he/she has registered in advance. If an individual has not been registered as a voter, he/she cannot vote on Election Day. Therefore, the Board needs to inform citizens of the commencement of voter registration using various forms of media to ensure the protection of citizens’ electoral rights.

Voter Registration Requirements

Registering to vote during voters’ registration is a prerequisite for participating in any election. The requirements and documents required to register a voter are detailed in the electoral law, as well as in some directives released by the NEBE. These requirements are appropriate and necessary and do not unfairly exclude individuals from being registered as voters.

Taking the type of election into consideration, voter registration is conducted in accordance with the electoral timetable set by the NEBE, and can only be carried out at polling stations that will be established in kebeles where the electorate resides. If necessary, mobile polling stations can also be established in pastoral areas to conduct voter registration. An individual can only register to vote once at one polling station! Each polling station will have its own electoral roll.

In accordance with article 18 of the Electoral Law Proclamation no. 1162/2019, a person can register as a voter if:

  • If he/she is an Ethiopian national;
  • If he/she is 18 years of age or older on the date of registration;
  • If he/she has been living in the constituency where he/she has registered for at least 6 consecutive months prior to registration;

If an individual meets all the requirements listed above, but has been clinically declared to be mentally ill and incapable of making sound decisions, or if the individual has had his/her electoral rights stripped by law, then that individual will not be able to register as a voter.  

Two things to keep in mind about voter registration:

  • Voter registration can only be conducted within a limited time frame set by the NEBE’s electoral timetable.
  • Unless otherwise specified for pastoralist areas, voter registration shall only be conducted at polling stations that will be established in kebele’s where the electorate resides.

In order to register to vote, an individual must bring the following documents to the polling station:

  1. Kebele ID Card or Passport (even if not renewed)
  2. If the individual cannot bring a kebele ID card, recent photo IDs such as a driver's license, residence ID, military discharge documents, school IDs, and similar documents are accepted.
  3. In situations where an individual is unable to present any of the documents listed above, he/she can be registered as a voter if the electoral official responsible for registering voters knows the individual personally. Or, if in the countryside, traditional methods will be used, where three individuals who have been confirmed to be long-lasting residents of the kebele where the polling station has been established act as witnesses, confirming the identity of the person who wishes to be registered as a voter. If the identity of the person who wishes to be registered as a voter can be confirmed in this manner, a minute is held and the individual can be registered as a voter.

Those who cannot register to vote without assistance can bring an assistant to help them register, and must be physically present during the registration.

Debates about the voter registration process

Any complaints about an individual or political party with regards to voter registration may be submitted to the Grievance Hearing Committee in the polling station. Grievance Hearing Committees will be established at the regional branch office, constituency, and polling station levels to help provide administrative decisions (solutions), in accordance with the electoral law, for complaints arising at any of the aforementioned levels. As clearly stated in the electoral law, any individual who has been prevented from registering to vote, has wrongfully been registered as a voter, has witnessed the registration of a voter who does not meet the necessary requirements, or has any grievances against a political party has the right to bring his/her complaints to the polling station Grievance Hearing Committee and receive a ruling. Accordingly, the time frame for when individuals can file complaints to polling station Grievance Hearing Committees starts on the first day of voter registration, and continues until the last day that the electoral roll is openly displayed to the public.

After investigating the filed complaint, a Grievance Hearing Committee must submit a written ruling to the complainant within five days. If the Grievance Hearing Committee has not made a decision within five days, or if the complainant is unsatisfied with the ruling, the complainant has the right to appeal to the constituency Grievance Hearing Committee and receive a response within five days. If the complainant is still unsatisfied with the decision, or does not receive a ruling from the constituency Grievance Hearing Committee within five days, the complainant has the right to appeal to the authorized federal and regional courts within five days. The court that handles the complaint investigates the necessary evidence and then provide a ruling on the matter.