DI-El Salvador launches voter education campaign

DI and its NGO network in El Salvador launched a voter education campaign for the March 11 legislative and municipal elections that will distribute newly developed voter education materials in every region of the country, an effort directed at clarifying the new rules of the Salvadoran voting system.

The campaign is part of DI’s ongoing 2012 Legislative and Municipal Elections Assistance Project in El Salvador, funded by USAID. In addition to voter education, DI is providing technical assistance to the Salvadoran Supreme Election Tribunal (TSE) to support the electoral process in the areas of communications, IT support, TREP process, and reporting of results. DI’s election assistance in El Salvador will continue after the 2012 elections to build the long-term capacity of the TSE to implement elections under the new voting system.

In its voter education efforts, DI has partnered with five local NGOs: Iniciativa Social para la Democracia, Fundación Salvadoreña para El Desarrollo Económico y Social, Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas”, Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho / Asociación de Radios y Programas Participativos de El Salvador, and Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad. These five NGOs, in turn, are partnering with smaller organizations, facilitating greater coverage at the rural level. A total of 14 organizations will be working as part of DI’s NGO network for the voter education campaign, called “Elecciones 2012; Elige-Vota-Exige” (Elections 2012: Choose-Vote-Demand).

The campaign includes educational materials, games, videos, radio segments, training sessions, house to-house visits, and a variety of other activities designed by the NGOs in coordination with DI.

The network has ensured voter education coverage in all 14 departments. The goal is to ensure Salvadorans are informed on the new locations and procedures for voting.* DI is also working with the NGOs to highlight the virtues and advantages of the new electoral system, such as the decentralization of voting centers, direct voting for specific candidates, and the participation of independent candidates.

The distribution of educational materials through the NGO network complements the official campaign organized by the TSE.

*The new voting system offers four different voting alternatives for the legislative elections, which are as follows:

1. Voting for a political party, by placing an “X” over that party’s flag;
2. Voting for a political party and one, several, or all of the
candidates on that party’s list, by placing an “X” on that party’s flag
and an “X” on one, several, or all of the candidates on that list;
3. Voting for one, several, or all of the candidates on a party’s list,
by placing an “X” on one, several, or all of the candidates on that
party’s list without having to place an “X” over that party’s flag; and
4. Voting for an independent candidate, by placing an “X” on one (and only one, in the case of San Salvador) independent candidate.