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Global Knowledge Network On Voter Education - learning from each other

Strategies for empowering Young and Future Voters – experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina”

NewsLetter Young voters have an important role in improving democratic processes, since they represent the future of any society. Every citizen of BiH, who has attained 18 years of age and at time the first identification document is issued, becomes automatically registered in the Central Voters’ Register through the passive registration system. Hence it is a passive registration system.

The category “young voters”, under the records of the BiH Central Election Commission, means the voters between 18 and 30 years of age. At the last 2016 Local Elections in BiH, a total of 673.821 voters were registered in the Central Voters’ Register under this category, which makes up one fifth (20.1%) of the entire electorate in BiH. 54.72% of the voters cast the ballot at the 2016 Local Elections, and the turnout of young voters between 18 and 30 years of age was lower than the total average and had amounted 51.29%.

In the period from 2010 to 2016 the BiH Central Election Commission conducted educational and motivational campaign for young voters, who have the right to vote, in order to encourage them to exercise their right and to cast the ballot through the broadcast of TV ads and radio.

A renowned non-government organization, the Association of Election Officials in BiH (AEOBiH), has been actively working in BiH, which conducted the first project for youth entitled “Democracy and Elections” in 6 high schools and 6 elementary schools in BiH as part of a special extracurricular program on elections.

However, the biggest responsibility for promoting participation of youth in public and political life rests on the political parties in BiH and many of them have youth forums or organizations, which promote participation of youth in public and political life in line with their strategies.

Looking forward towards the future, the BiH Central Election Commission is currently in the process of establishing an Education Center with the required resources and infrastructure for organization of seminars, exchange of experience in the field of elections and electoral systems. The plan for 2017 is networking with the similar education centers in Georgia and Moldova, as well as to develop a special curriculum for young people and to set up a permanent budget line for education programs intended for young people, especially the first time voters.

By-Dr. Suad Arnautović,