The first ever Global Conference on Voter Education titled “Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation” is being organized by the Election Commission of India in association with UNDP from 19th to 21st October, 2016 at New Delhi. The main purpose of the conference is to learn from the experiences of EMBs, government and non-government by way of sharing the best practices, policies and initiatives of voter education. All EMBs recognize the need for inclusive participation of voters through the exercise of informed and ethical choice as the key to strengthening the fabric of democracy. The Voter is the central point of the electoral framework and every voter must be thoroughly aware and educated about the electoral processes and procedures, so as to ensure his or her informed and ethical participation.
The three day event is to take place at Taj Palace, New Delhi on 19-20 October, while on 21st October a field tour has been planned for the visiting delegates.
• Election Management Bodies of 27 countries from across the globe will converge at this Conference to share experiences and develop novel practices.
• The International delegation consists of 09 delegations headed by the respective Chairperson and 08 by the Election Commissioners and 10 by other Senior Officials.
• Amongst the national participants the Senior officials from Ministries of HRD, Information and Broadcasting, Social Justice; External Affairs etc. whoare partnering ECI in its voter education programme of Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) have been invited for the Conference.
• The Special Invitees to the Conference consist of the Former CEC’s of India, the SEC’s, the CEO’s from all states as well as the SVEEP Nodal officers of the State. The CSO’s and NGOs who lend an integral support in ECIs mandate of Voter Education and Electoral Participation shall also be among the attendees.
• An eclectic mix of representatives covering wide echelons of society will be gathered at the Conference to deliberate on the critical topic of Voter Education.
• The Conference will be inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India.
• The Conference will deliberate upon 5 topics ranging from Electoral Literacy to Enhanced Participation by Special Categories of Voters, Role of ICT in Voter Education and Strategies for Informed and Ethical Voting.
• International as well as national experts on the subject will be sharing insights during the Conference.
• The ECI envisages a number of initiatives towards achieving international synergy in Voter Education and awareness. In this regard, the following components, during the Conference, shall be of significance:
i) GLOBAL PLATFORM: The Conference shall provide the first ever global platform for the sharing of best practices in voter education. The participants consist of a varied conglomeration of nations ranging from relatively young democracies to nations spreading across all continents of the world. This diverse variety of knowledge and experience would enable to bring out ‘best of the best’ global practices in the Conference.
ii) OVERSEAS INDIAN SURVEY-CUM-COMPETITION: With the Conference, the ECI also launches the NRI survey cum competition. The survey – competition is a novel way ahead in touching a chord with the Overseas Indians. It aims to not only gather useful data through the survey but also attract and engage NRIs about their voting eligibility and rights. This will also help guide the Commission in formulating further voting initiatives especially designed for the Overseas Indian population. The survey competition has designed by ECI in collaboration with TISS.
iii) The VoICE.NET: The Conference will see the launch of the ambitious project of VoICE.NET. It is aGlobal Knowledge Network on voter education with membership from participating EMBs and Organisation working in the field of elections and democracy – VoICE.NET. This network will provide an innovative wide platform to share knowledge resources, interact on discussion board, sharing platform for events and practices in member countries and also extend its knowledge and resource support to stakeholders e.g. CSOs, Departments and other organisations associated with elections besides Academic Institutions.
iv) THE EXHIBITION: An exhibition showcasing Voter Education tools and materials from India and across the world consisting of informational material, model polling station, provision of live voting on EVM, photos, videos, 3D models, interactive games developed by ECI shall be on show. The EVM and VVPAT have especially being demonstrated for the delegates on their request.
The substantial quantum of Voter Education material developed by ECI, the voter education guides/brochures, the compilation of Human Stories and other literature including the praiseworthy Braille brochures on voting education shall also be on display.
v) THE RESOLUTION: The Conference will also aim to achieve a Resolution to strengthen Inclusive, Informed and Ethical electoral participation among member countries with the help of Voter Education and outreach.
i) The Delegates of International Conference of visiting EMBs shall also be calling on the Hon’ble President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 19th October, 2016 at 6 PM.
ii) The Conference shall be concluded with a field tour for the visiting EMB delegates on 21st October.
LIST OF PARTICIPATING EMBs & ORGANISATIONS
i. Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan
ii. Australian Electoral Commission
iii. Superior Electoral Court of Brazil
iv. Elections Canada
v. Fijian Elections Office
vi. Central Election Commission of Georgia
vii. Election Commission of India
viii. General Election Commission of the Republic of Indonesia
ix. Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq
x. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Kenya
xi. Independent Electoral Commission Lesotho
xii. Election Commission Malaysia
xiii. Election Commission of Maldives
xiv. Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius
xv. Instituto Nacional Electoral Mexico
xvi. Union Election Commission of Myanmar
xvii. Election Commission of Nepal
xviii. Electoral Commission of Namibia
xix. Commission on Elections, Philippines
xx. Election Commission of Sri Lanka
xxi. Office of the Election Commission of Thailand
xxii. High Independent Election Commission of Tunisia
xxiii. Electoral Commission of Uganda
xxiv. U.S. Election Assistance Commission
xxvii. International IDEA
xxviii. Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre
xxix. University of Haifa
Election Commission of India