Afghanistan: Voter information centre launched: "180" toll free hotline

Afghan voters with questions on the 2005 Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Council elections may now call a toll-free phone number from anywhere in Afghanistan, and have their questions answered personally.
By dialling 1 8 0 from any mobile or landline phone, callers will be connected to a Voter Information Centre staffed by operators ready to answer their questions in Dari, Pashto or English from 7am to 7pm every Saturday to Thursday. The number will not be available if called after hours.

The Voter Information Centre was launched this week and has already handled more than 150 public telephone enquiries.

As JEMBS staff, Voter Information Centre operators have been trained to answer any question relating to any aspect of the 2005 electoral process.

The Voter Information Centre hotline has been set up by the JEMB Secretariat in cooperation with all of Afghanistan's telecommunications providers Roshan, AWCC, and Afghan Telecom as a free service for the Afghan electorate.

Ten operators will be available at any time during the opening hours to handle queries ranging from the location of Voter Registration and Polling sites, to seat numbers in each province, to the main duties of the Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Councils.

The number will be publicized through leaflets, newspaper advertisements, radio and TV broadcasts and disseminated by the JEMBS' network of civic educators.

A database of queries will be compiled to provide election organizers with a picture of the level of awareness among voters on various aspects of the electoral process.

"This is a free service for the Afghan people, to ensure the widest possible participation by every eligible Afghan voter in the September 18 elections and the final stage of our land's transition to democracy," said JEMB Chairman Bissmillah Bissmil.

"It will also provide us with a very valuable window into the levels of awareness among Afghan voters and help us to keep everyone accurately informed."

For more information please contact:

JEMB National Spokesperson: Sultan Ahmad Baheen mob: + 93 (0) 70 29 89 92
JEMB International Spokesperson: Bronwyn Curran mob.: + 93 (0) 70 16 44 94