College students who have attained voting age have six days to register as voters from their respective learning institutions after the electoral agency allowed them to choose their preferred polling stations.
This is after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) moved the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits next to the universities and colleges.
This is meant to ensure the students who are 18 years and above are not locked out of the month-long mass voter registration that started on January 16 and runs up to February 14.
“The BVR kits will be opened to allow students to register in any registration centre of their choice countrywide,” the commission executive officer Ezra Chiloba said in an announcement in the dailies.
The revelation comes as a reprieve to political leaders who have been pushing the commission to allow students in universities and colleges to register to vote in their home counties where many of them will be on voting day.
Some had started sponsoring students to travel upcountry to register before resuming studies, to increase the number of their potential voters.
LOCKED OUT OF POLLS
ODM secretary-general Agnes Zani had raised concerns that many eligible youth would have been locked out of the August 8 polls, given that this is the last phase of registration of voters before the August General Election.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr observed that without the commission’s guidance, some of the students could have registered to vote in polling stations where the institutions are located, yet they will be away, on voting day.
“Some could have opted not to register at all since the entire registration period falls within the time these students are away from their constituencies of ordinary residence,” said Mr Kilonzo Jr, the Wiper Party vice-chairman.
The registration has been affected by low turnout, raising fears that the commission might not attain its target of listing an additional six million voters, and ultimately a total of 22 million voters.
Transfer of a voting station is only done at the IEBC constituency offices to free the clerks at polling stations to handle those registering for the first time.