The Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 Section 80 states that the Commission shall provide Voter Education for an election. The Commission is mandated to provide Voter Education and information that will enable citizens to participate meaningfully in the Electoral Process.
Principles of voter education
The provision of Voter Education and information is guided by three (3) key principles. These principles are critical in ensuring the credibility and positive impact of Voter Education and information programmes. The following are the principles of Voter Education;
- Non partisanship
Non-partisanship entails that Voter Education provides information that doesn’t unduly favor any of the candidates in elections. It is focused on providing the voter with electoral education and information in a neutral manner.
Voter Education provides factual, impartial and unbiased information that doesn’t seek to interpret or make decisions for the voter. The voter is provided with sufficient Voter Education and electoral information to enable them make decisions on their own.
Voter education and information should be readily available to the people regardless of sex, religion, political affiliation, tribe, disability, etc. All Voter Education activities are conducted in a straight forward, clear and open manner
Functions of Voter Education
- Provide Voter education to Zambian Citizens
- Develop Voter Education policies and strategies.
- Provide comprehensive training for all staff involved in Voter Education
- Develop Voter Education print and audio-visual resources
- Operate the Voter Education Information and Resource Centre
Outreach Strategies of Voter Education
- Face to face discussion meetings
- Use of mobile Public Address Systems
- Pre-arranged community meetings
- Theatre performances
- Distribution of posters and brochures
- Use of Information Communication Technology to disseminate information
- Voter Education School Clubs
Structure of voter education
Voter Education is implemented or conducted through a structure which comprises of committees as follows;
National Voter Education Committee (NVEC)
The National Voter Education Committee (NVEC) advises the Commission on the design and dissemination of civic/voter information and education relevant to citizen’s participation in the electoral and referendum processes, the Commission nominates member organizations to NVEC who in turn choose individuals to seat on the committee.
The following are the functions of the National Voter Education Committee (NVEC)
- Formulate policies for Voter education and information dissemination
- Coordinate Voter Education and information dissemination
- Provide communication strategies
- Provide Voter Education curriculum
- Develop Voter Education materials
- Monitor and evaluate Voter Education programmes
- Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
District Voter Education Committee (DVEC)
The District Voter Education Committee (DVEC) comprises of individuals from Civil Society Organisations, Faith Based Organisations, Government Ministries and Institutions to be determined by the Commission. The District Voter Education Committee members are appointed by the District Electoral Officer on behalf of the Commission. The total number of DVEC members does not exceed ten (10).
The following are the functions of the District Voter Education Committee (DVEC))
- Implement NVEC policies and Voter Education programmes
- Provide leadership in the provision of Voter Education at district level
- Ensure Voter Education is done in nonpartisan and objective manner
- Develop district Voter Education
- Identification, recruitment and supervision of VEFs
- Monitor Voter Education activities at ward level
- Support and build the capacity of ward based VEFs in providing Voter Education
- Receives reports from VEFs
- Ensure accountability for Voter Education funds
- Prepare and submit Voter Education update reports to the Commission
District Voter Education Trainers
These are individuals who are recruited by the Commission to conduct training of District Voter Education Committee (DVEC) members and Voter Education Facilitators (VEFs) at district level.
The duties and responsibilities of the district voter education
- Assist the DVEC with the recruitment of VEFs to ensure that only qualified citizens are recruited
- Arrange for the training of DVEC members and VEFs in the district of deployment
- Ensure timely availability of suitable training venues and materials
Voter Education Facilitators (VEFs)
Voter Education Facilitators (VEFs) have the task of delivering Voter Education to citizens. Their duties are to;
- Mobilize community members in the targeted ward (s) to attend Voter Education meetings
- Plan and prepare for Voter Education activities
- Organize and conduct Voter Education activities
- Report on activities implemented
- Ensure priority groups have access to Voter Education
Voter Education School Clubs (VESCs)
The Electoral Commission of Zambia established the voter education school club in order to work with the school system to enlighten learners on electoral matters and create awareness of their responsibility in the electoral process.
Below are the objects of the VESCs;
- To use learners as a channel to reach the wider Zambian community with Voter Education
- To instill a culture of integrity and patriotism into learners
- To disseminate Voter Education messages in schools and involve learners in the fight against electoral malpractices
- To enable teachers and learners understand the electoral process