Disenfranchised by Incompetence

There was a crowd of about 20 people outside the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) East End office this morning (Wednesday 21 February).

They were all in the same position as me. Exactly 14 days to polling day and we haven’t yet picked up our voter registration cards. There are various reasons for my lapse – mainly though that I’ve been out of the country.

I’d been led to understand that today is the deadline for picking them up. Now I’m not so sure. The NEC office was closed to the public. A man at the gate told us we had to come back on Friday. A woman who came out said that the staff were tied up with a training course and to "try tomorrow". Neither pronouncement was received with much confidence. Several people in the crowd had made futile visits to the NEC office several times already. A woman who had tried to pick up her card on Tuesday had been told to come back the next day.

Everyone in the crowd had spent time and money getting there. For some this was their last attempt.

So how do I pick up my voter registration card? I still don’t know. There was no verifiable information available at the office. There is nothing on the website and no one answers the helpline. Nor were we given any explanation.

A NEC security guard came out to insist that we couldn’t take pictures. So in a spirit of solidarity, we took a group photo. If nothing else, it’s a record that we tried.


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