Consistent with its Mission Statement, the Public Education and Public Relations (PEPRU) department of the Commission keeps the public informed of the Commission’s over-arching constitutional responsibility in an effort to educate stakeholders as it pertains to the franchise, with respect to voter registration and election procedures.
The unit’s on-going public education mandate is facilitated by the exponential increase in recent years of the local media network. The increasing use of mass media in the public and private sectors has greatly improved the working relationship between the Commission and the media in Trinidad and Tobago.
Also in the area of public education and information dissemination, the unit has been receiving the co-operation of Government Ministries and other agencies in the State sector, as well as private sector organizations such as financial institutions. For example, some of the Commission’s information materials are disseminated via the route of posters, brochures and intranet facilities in the workplace of several of these organizations.
- Basic Civic Education
Basic concepts underpinning our democratic society are enshrined in the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. These are: (i) citizens’ rights; (ii) responsibility of government; (iii) right to join political parties; and (iv) freedom of the press; and the importance of periodic elections. Civic Education is an on-going process and is not tied to the electoral cycle.
Basic Civic Education is generally carried out in schools and the university and through civil society organisations, although not necessarily through the agency of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Voter information and voter education can be considered as parts of civic education objectives.
- Basic Voter Information as the terms implies deals with the basic information that enables citizens to vote; registration requirements including date, time and place of voting; identification required to establish identity; poll cards; and the mechanism of voting including instructions for differently-abled voters. These are basic facts and are free of concepts.
- Basic Voter Education on the other hand addresses such matters as why voters should participate in elections. It deals with more complex issues about voting and the electoral process; and, like Civic Education is concerned with concepts such as the link between basic human rights and voting rights; the role, responsibilities and rights of voters; the relationship between elections and forms of democracy and the conditions necessary for democratic elections; secrecy of the ballot; why each vote is important; types of electoral systems such as First Past the Post and Proportional Representation; campaign financing; and how votes translate into seats. Such concepts require explanations, not merely a statement of facts. Basic Voter Education is most often provided by Election Management Bodies such as the EBC.
Information can be obtained by contacting the
Public Education and Public Relations Unit (PEPRU) at any of the following numbers:
625-5924, 625-8994 or 623-4622, extension 274
Information materials available are:
- How to register as a voter and obtain a National Identification card
- Uses of the ID card
- Get your ID card as early as age 15
- Renew your ID card 2 months prior to the expiry date
- Change of Residence
- Election Offences
- To Vote is Simple
- Time-off for Voting
- No Cell Phones in Polling Stations
- Check your Poll Card
- Check the List of Electors