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KABUL, Oct. 3—The Independent Election Committee (IEC) of Afghanistan launched a public outreach campaign urging prospective voters to register for the 2009/2010 elections. The campaign is funded by seven international donor agencies. Persons who already hold voter registration cards need not re-register.
Launched on Sept. 21, the campaign coincided with International Peace Day. It will include 400 billboards, text messages, and radio and television spots and a 10 minute documentary. Printed materials include 1,700 flip charts for civic educators, 250,000 posters, 500,000 leaflets and 300,000 booklets.
"All messages will be produced and disseminated in the national languages of Dari and Pashto," IEC deputy chief electoral officer Zekria Barakzai said.
In addition, a call centre to answer questions from prospective voters is also being set up with its 190 number reachable by any mobile phone. The centre will operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Voter registration will occur in four stages over four months. The first phase runs in 14 provinces from Oct 6 to Nov 5.
The registration campaign is primarily geared to reach first-time voters including persons whose 18th birthday occurred prior to Sept. 1, 2008. Others the campaign intends to reach are recent returnees to Afghanistan and those whose addresses in Afghanistan changed since the last election. Women in particular are being encouraged to register and the campaign emphasises that separate voter registration centres for women will be available.