Iraq's Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) is partnering with the Ministry of Transport to display posters on public buses.
IHEC media officer Aziz al-Khaikany said to local media, "IHEC has signed an agreement with the Transport Ministry's state company for the transport of passengers and delegations to display posters promoting the elections on passenger buses in Baghdad and other provinces."
He said, "The posters carry various promotional messages directed at the citizens, urging them to pick up their voter cards to be used in the balloting from voter registration centers, pointing out the required identification and documents needed to obtain them, exhorting them to take part in the upcoming elections and educating them about the electoral process."
Electoral awareness is being promoted by way of posters and signs on streets and public squares, television and radio programs and ads in print publications and on websites, al-Khaikany said.
Additionally, he said, mass seminars and conferences are being conducted for the general public including people in the public eye such as clerics, activists, social figures and security personnel to increase their awareness of the electronic voting cards, to encourage people to pick up their cards, to explain the distribution mechanisms and to emphasize the need for mass participation in the elections, he added.
He also stated that the upcoming elections are significant as they will incorporate modern technology such as electronic voting cards, biometric data and electronic verification systems at more than 9,000 balloting centers and 54,000 stations in Iraq.
He added that by adopting these technologies, the commission is "trying to keep pace with the electoral processes employed by the advanced electoral commissions around the world, and maintain the standards of integrity and transparency of elections." These technologies will help to ensure the smooth flow of the election and will enable voters to cast their votes with ease.
Public Buses as Promotional Vehicles
Previous election campaigns also have made use of public buses, said Osama al-Sadr, general director of the state company for the transport of passengers and delegations. He also stated that this type of promotion is effective because the buses traverse the city's streets and afford many citizens the opportunity to become acquainted with the election messages.
These messages address several topics surrounding the upcoming electoral process, such as familiarizing people with the electronic voting cards, encouraging people to obtain them and to visit the electoral centers and stations on balloting day to cast their votes, as well as the correct application of the voting rules and mechanisms, al-Sadr said.
"Electoral promotions will be posted on the company's double-decker buses, which are used for city transport," he said, adding that the campaign "will continue till the start of the parliamentary elections".
Election promotion using public buses "could help in achieving good results as far as increasing awareness of Iraqi voters of the importance of the electoral process, and how to partake in it", said Iraqi MP Suhad al-Obaidi.
Al-Obaidi called on all public opinion leaders and civil society organizations to support the electoral commission's efforts in urging citizens to cast their votes in the upcoming elections.