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Educational and motivational campaign - Voters outside Bosnia and Herzegovina


In accordance with the provisions of the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, each citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafterB&H) who has attained eighteen (18) years of age has the right to vote and to be elected. In order to achieve his or her right to vote, a B&H citizen must be registered in the Central Voter Register. Since 2006, so-called Passive registration for the voters who live in the country is in effect. This registration implies the creation of the Central Voter Register based on data from the official records in the civil registry of citizens. However, for the voters temporaryresiding abroad B&H (due to temporary work, scholarships, studies, research or scientific work), or persons from B&H with a refugee status, to be on an excerpt from the Central Voter Registerfor voting outside B&H, there is an obligation to submit registration to the Central Election Commission of B&H for each election within the prescribed deadline.
In order to provide timely informing about all relevant segments of the electoral process and the greater turnout of the elections,the B&H Central Election Commission carries out an educational and motivational campaign for this voter category, and these activities are particularly intensified during the election year. The period of realization of the educational campaign lasts from the announcement of the election in May until the end of September, since the elections in B&H are held on the first Sunday in October.

Educational and motivational campaign for voters outside Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Campaign Goal of‘Registration of voters in the Central Voter Register’ is that voters temporary residing abroad get familiarize with the manner and the deadlines for voting outside B&H. For the purposes of the voter registration campaign in the Central VoterRegister, TV spots and radio jingles are prepared, and press releases are published in the widely circulated newspapers.
In the last two election cycles, a promotional video material was created for this voter category, with detailed explanations of how voters can registerfor voting by mail, and how the application forms can be filled (PRP 1 and PRP 2). These application forms are posted on the web page of the Institution.
Also, via the diplomatic – consular representation office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter DCRO B&H) network and the partner associations of B&H citizens abroad, informative materials - application forms, voting guides outside B&H, video material and all other relevant materials are submitted to voters outside B&H.
Furthermore, since 2010, the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, continuouslywork on the education and information of voters living outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the visits to DCRO BiHand meetings with associations of citizens of B&H who live abroad, in order to animate them for voting in elections.
Furthermore, the Central Election Commission of B&H establishes regularly an info-line (help-line), after the election announcement. This info-line provides assistance and information to voters outside B&H but it also serves as help-line for the voters in B&H for checking polling data.
The website of the Institutionis regularly maintained and updated all the time, in order to informthe voters and all the participants in electoral process timely. All information significant for the electoral process, verification of polling station location, decisions, press releases, statistics, by-laws and norms are in this way available for the public. All video materials used in informative and motivational campaign are available on the web site and You -tube channel too.

Case Study-Local Elections in 2016

The Central Election Commission of B&H and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of B&H, in order to animate and educate voters living outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina, intensified their activities for education and informing of voters living outside B&H in 2016. The CEC B&H has undertaken, in the framework of its legal obligation, all necessary steps to inform the voters who are residing abroad aboutall current issues from that area. Special attention is devoted to the motivation of voters living outside of B&H to register and achieve their voting rights through the following activities:
- The Decision on the realization of education and information of voters outside B&H was made;
- For the purposes of the implementation of this activity, teams were formed. The members of the CEC of B&H were in the teams and their activities were related to: - information and education of voters about the registration process for voting outside the country;
Educational-direct campaign with voters living outside of B&H has been conducted in the following countries: Croatia (Zagreb), Slovenia (Ljubljana), Austria (Vienna, Graz, Salzburg); Norway (Oslo), Sweden (Stockholm, Malmo), Denmark (Copenhagen), Switzerland (Bern), The United States (Atlanta, Jacksonville, Washington), Germany (Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne), France (Strasbourg).
After the Central Election Commission of B&H passed a decision about the closure and confirmation of the Central VoterRegister for the 2016 Local Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was found that a total of 287 voters enrolled in the Central Voter Register outside Bosnia and Herzegovina in the diplomatic and consular missions of B&H and 65,111 voters who signed up to vote by mail.
The usage of the direct educational campaign method, or direct contact with voters living outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina, proved to be the best way for motivational campaign for voters outside B&H. The number of voters who registered to vote outside B&H from 2010 to 2016 increased by 77.54%, ie by 28.438 voters. (Table 1)
Table1: Showing the registration of voters living outside B&H
No Elections Voters registered for voting by mail and DKP Voted by mail Registered for voting in DKP Voted in DKP
1 General elections 2010. 36.673  23.338 0 0
2 Local elections 2012. 37.359 24.562 0 0
3 General elections2014. 42.128 28.001 245 138
4 Local elections 2016. 65.111 41.196 287 146

Aftereducational campaign was conducted successfully for voters outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the Decision on the diplomatic and consular representations of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which administration of voting for the 2016 Local Elections. A total of 5 polling stations were set up in the DCRO B&Hwhere registered voters could vote for the Local Elections in 2016. (The Republic of Austria-Vienna and Graz, the Federal Republic of Germany-Stuttgart and Munich and the Republic of Serbia-Belgrade).
After the appointment of the polling boards in the DCRO B&H, the Central Election Commission of B&H, in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of B&H, organized a training for the presidents and members of the polling boards, as well as their deputies in the DCRO B&H.

Picture1: Dr. Suad Arnautovic, a memmber of CEC B&H –with the representatives of the Associations of Consulate Genral of B&H in Stuttgart
Picture 2: Delegation of CEC B&H with the representatives of Community of Serbs and religious community in Atlanta and representatives of Embassy of B&H in Washington


B&H citizens residing and working abroad gave the exceptional support to these direct activities. Satisfaction and support for such activities was expressed on the meetings with the representatives of B&H diaspora and associations gathering B&H citizens, and it is necessary to emphasize the involvement of associations in the voter registration process for voting through DCRO B&Hor mail.
The positive effects of direct educational campaigns for voters outside B&H are reflected in the following:
- The voters received information about the voting application procedure;
- The importance of delivering valid identification documents and complete documentation during registration;
- The importance of the correct address and contact information, due to the possible elimination of irregularities;
- The possibilities of voting in DCRO B&H;
- The role of embassies and consulates in securing the necessary registration documents for voting
- The possibilities of insight into the decision on approval / refusal of registration and the possibility of appeal.

It can be concluded that the campaign for voters living outside B&H gave positive results and that it is extremely important to continue with similar activities.

  Zehra Tepić
Senior Voter Information Specialist