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Why voter turnout in diaspora is always low- Alliance chair

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By Judith Gicobi

The electoral authority has been challenged to lay a good framework for those living abroad to be able to take part fully in the elections.

Shem Ochuodho, chairman of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance, stated on Thursday that the majority of diaspora residents live far off from the voting places, making it challenging for them to travel long distances to cast their votes.

“This is because IEBC is failing to provide the necessary infrastructure and there are sparsely located polling stations to register diaspora voters,” he said.

“If you expect someone living in Seattle to travel all the way to Washington DC which is about two hours of driving, that will be impossible,” he said.

The IEBC voter registration list still has the few registered voters from Kenyan diaspora.

6,221 new diaspora voters were registered in the most recent registration drive, according to the IEBC’s gazetted voter list, a modest increase from the previous total.

Although there are nearly two million Kenyans living abroad, only 10,444 of them are registered to to vote for their preferred presidential candidate on August 9.

However, statistics show that Qatar has 1,437 votes, while Tanzania’s neighbor is in second place with 1,402. With 1,211 and 1,090 votes from Uganda and Rwanda respectively.

South Africa has 958, South Sudan (977), Germany (314), the UK (798), the United Arab Emirates (745), Canada (366) and the USA (744).

The chairman encouraged the electoral agency to take into account implementing technology for people living abroad.

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“The best solution for them is technology since most of these people can access the internet,” Ochuodho noted.

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