From 31 January and until the 14 February, officers of the Electoral Commissioner are busy going door-to-door to help all of us with our registration as electors. The annual registration process is being announced on MBC TV at the same time. Amongst the Press, the ION-NEWS site has taken the initiative of making a clip of the electoral officers at work doing registration door-to-door.
In LALIT, we are aware that the right to vote was hard fought for. Though it gives us a limited form of democracy, it is nevertheless precious. Each of us can do our bit to make registration of all of us easier.
So, by this article, LALIT is calling firstly on our members and supporters and then also on everyone else in the country who wants to promote democracy, to assist the government employees doing this work.
It is important that we all give a hand. Making democracy work depends on us all. We cannot expect a bureaucratic “fix” for a democratic issue.
While it is our right to vote, it is clearly our duty to register. In many countries, including most of the USA’s 50 states – not that the US is a model of democracy – people have, themselves, to go to Registration Centres in order to register. This goes towards explaining how 24% or so (over 50 million) of qualified voters in the USA are not on voter registers.
The officers sent by the Electoral Commissioner in Mauritius are here to help us register. And, whether in the rain or in the sun, with dogs attacking them, and with some people taking ages to come to their front door even though they are at home and others not answering the front door at all, the work of these officers is not always easy. And it is in our interest to make it as easy and pleasant as possible for these workers as they come to our neighbourhoods.Remember they are helping us. If you are not in, the officers do visit again at a different time of day. Finally, if they can’t meet you, they leave a memo on how to contact the electoral officer so as to make a rendezvous for the officer to come again.
What can we do to help? We can, of course, help by answering our own door swiftly and by giving or checking our names on-the-spot. We can also show where neighbours’ houses are, or calling any neighbour, who we know is at home – in case they hesitate for reasons of their own to come to the door.
(In LALIT, we do not know what to suggest for all the new “gated communities” that aim specifically to shut everyone out, while those who live in these rich peoples’ ghettoes may be the first and loudest to denounce the electoral commissioner if their names do not figure on the electoral list. We do not know what to suggest for other rich people who live behind high walls with big gates and long drive-ways and bad dogs. They will just have to get the memo and take the effort, themselves. We fear that they are the most likely not to go check when the announcements are made to ensure they are registered. But all this negligence on the part of the elite will not stop them making a racket if their names are not on the list.)
For your interest, the free hot-line, given on the Electoral Commissioner’s site is 800-2010. One of us has just tried the number and it worked.
Remember to vote, you have to ensure that you are on the Register. And remember that the Register is compiled each year. On 16 August the new Register comes into effect. But, before that date and when the draft registers are ready (usually around April) the Electoral Commissioner will have announcements on MBC and in the Press about the pasting up of the Registers in decentralized places for us to check that our names are effectively on the 2020 Register of Electors. Remember there can be mistakes when compiling the Registers, and we need to check that there are not mistakes. We will also be able to check, it seems, on our mobile phones.