Determining Democracy with Vulnerable Votes
Voter education and awareness are important to the fair, transparent and effective functioning of democracy. When voters are denied access to information about voting rules, the democratic process is rendered vulnerable to corruption by misinformation or misconduct, jeopardising the integrity of the electoral process.
In the most recent Bougainville election, funding for voter education was not released on time, leaving many locals with little idea about how to enrol and how to vote. This was a deliberate manoeuvre designed to capitalise on voter ignorance. Citizens of Bougainville, both men and women and particularly young voters, deserve timely information to ensure they make informed decisions at the polling booth.
IWDA’s Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women program has worked with local organisations in Bougainville and elsewhere in the Pacific, to develop voting guides and leadership training sessions supporting women to vote and run for office. Programs of this nature need to continue to ensure that citizens have access to relevant information in time for future elections.