Civic Education: Significant Things Every First-Time Voter Needs To Know
The first thing every first-time voter needs to know is the meaning of voting. Voting is a process in which an eligible citizen of a state cast a ballot by choosing a preferred candidate to represent them.
Every first-time voter needs to know the importance of voting. Why should we vote? We have to vote so that we can have a say in decision-making during electoral processes. It is our right to elect competent leaders that can represent us and speak to our issues.
It is important to know how to participate in electoral processes as a first-time voter. How can we participate in electoral processes? A first-time voter should be an 18-year-old citizen of the state. He/She should then register at a polling center in their very own community and district. After registration hold on to your voter’s card and keep it safe until it’s time to vote. Note that it is your duty as a citizen to vote during the elections and no eligible citizen should refrain from voting.
A first-time voter needs to be aware of who to vote for. Who do we vote for? We ought to vote for leaders who we believe and trust and our votes should not be based on tribalism, family or intimate relationships, peer influences, or threats received from relatives, institutions, or school administrators. Our votes should be based on the candidate’s competency, effective representation, reliability, morals and discipline.
We also need to know where to vote. Where do we vote? We must vote at the polling centers at which we registered in our districts. As a first-time voter know that we should not allow politicians to truck us out of our districts in exchange for money or favor. Registering or voting out of your district leads to others making decisions for you in your district and it is a form of selling your right as a citizen of the state to others. It is also a crime because a person trucked might get arrested and punished for the crime.
A first-time voter should go out to exercise their right on the set date announced by the National Elections Commission every election year.
All first-time voters should be careful to avoid mistakes that will lead to invalid votes. Adhere to the directions given you by the NEC Staff on or before the day of elections in order to minimize invalid votes. Please do not be afraid to ask questions about processes you do not understand.
First time voters should not lie when giving their personal information during the voters’ registration process. Do not lie about your age, family, address, etc.
Please try to avoid every form of electoral violence ranging from verbal abuse, fighting, to heated arguments with the NEC Staff, observant, or other citizens. Do not be afraid to report every form of electoral violence and malpractice you witness.
Be knowledgeable of NEC Policies that gives special privileges to pregnant women, the elderly, people living with disabilities, baby mothers, and some service providers like the health workers, and security personnel.
We are She-Leads Liberia and we would like to recommend to the National Elections Commission of the Republic of Liberia to provide more awareness and information for first time voters on electoral processes which we believe will minimize invalid votes and lead to a free and fair election.
Courtesy of Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) Liberia