BERSIH 2.0 today kickstarted our voter registration campaign that is slated to run for the whole of March 2017. The “U Campaign” is targeted at the approximately four million Malaysian citizens who are still unregistered and to draw awareness to the importance of registering to vote.
Centering on the letter “U” which stands for “UNDI” (which can also double as “you”), BERSIH 2.0’s voter registration campaign places the power back in the hands of Malaysians, complementing BERSIH’s philosophy as a people’s movement. The blank square invites people to tell us what they are voting for, underscoring the importance of registering to vote. It is also about linking the expectations of voters to future elected representatives of the change that Malaysians want for the country. By introducing sleek design and a more interactive aspect to our campaign, we hope to appeal to the younger generation while remaining committed to bridging the urban-rural divide.
The campaign will include several on-the-ground activities at post offices and other events across Malaysia, beginning this Saturday, 25 February 2017.
BERSIH 2.0 has chosen the month of March to run this campaign as it marks the end of the first quarter and when the Election Commission (EC) will start processing registrations. Each new registration will take up to six months to process and gazette and as such, 31 March 2017 will be the last day Malaysians can register to vote if GE14 were to happen in September 2017.
Despite being one of its main responsibilities, the EC has made the voter registration process unnecessarily difficult and drawn-out and ignored BERSIH’s recommendation for automatic voter registration. This is one of the EC’s fundamental roles and yet it is not even able to carry out its basic responsibility of registering voters. Since voting is a major part of the democratic process, BERSIH 2.0 is stepping in to fill the gap by embarking on the “U Campaign”.
The main thrust of our campaign will be encouraging Malaysians to take the initiative and register themselves at the post office. Only those who registered before 31 March 2017 will be able to vote in GE14 (should it be held in September 2017), so it is imperative for those unregistered to do it as soon as possible at their nearest post office. Those who have already registered can play their part by bringing family and friends to a post office to register.
If the EC is truly serious about fulfilling its duty, we invite them to collaborate with BERSIH 2.0 in this push for voter registration.
Voting is one of the most powerful things that a citizen can do in a democracy. It is the most direct way of effecting change and letting your voice be heard. BERSIH 2.0 urges Malaysians to not make light of this democratic duty. Take the first step, register to vote today.
Signed by the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee members