Social media push for Bahrain elections
Manama, August 26, 2014
A social media campaign designed to keep voters informed ahead of this year's general elections in Bahrain is ready for launch, alongside a dedicated hotline and website.
Election organisers said that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts were being prepared to not only answer citizen's enquiries, but also allow them to air their grievances, file complaints and highlight issues with election process, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission president Abdulla Hassan Al Buainain said they were in the final stages of launching their new website - similar to those created for previous elections - which will outline the rights and responsibilities of both voters and election candidates.
"The website for the 2014 parliamentary and municipal elections will soon be launched," he said. "There were some technical issues with the Central Informatics Organisation, but they should soon be resolved."
The website will allow voters to check their details against the electoral roll and will also include a reference section on the relevant laws and regulations related to voting.
Al Buainain said the actual date for the polls - expected to be held in November - "will be announced in a couple of weeks", after which electoral rolls will go on display in each of the five governorates.
When asked about automated voting machines, which were earlier rumoured to be on the cards for this year's elections, Al Buainain said his commission was "still waiting for confirmation" on their use.
So far, Bahrain's voters have expressed their preference for candidates in parliamentary and municipal elections by marking a slip of paper that is then deposited in a ballot box.
An automated system would allow citizens to use their CPR cards to vote - by inserting it in a special reader, selecting their chosen candidate on a touch screen display and printing out their ballot paper before manually depositing it.
Voters would receive two printed ballot papers - one for parliament and another for municipal council elections, which they would drop in the respective transparent boxes.
The GDN reported last month that a team of 2,400 people will be working round the clock at 50 polling stations across the country during the elections.
The staff will be assisting voters by helping them first cast their ballots, stamp their passport with the official 2014 election logo and then help in counting the ballots.
More than 318,000 Bahrainis were eligible to vote in the last general elections, when authorities reported a turnout of "at least 67 per cent.” - TradeArabia News Service