Southern Sudanese in the U.S. to get five new registration centers

Category: Diaspora
Published on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 05:11
Written by Joseph Deng Garang,The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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Omaha (NSV)-- Call it foresight. Or better yet, the voice of reason. But after weeks of mounting a concerted push for more registration sites, the SPLM chapters' leadership in the U.S. is relieved to learn that their request has now been granted.

5centersIn late October, days before Out of Country Registration and Voting started, members of the Southern Sudanese Referendum Task Force in the U.S. met to discuss the challenges of voting after learning from IOM, the lead international non-govermental agency charged with conducting OCRV, that registration would be handled in three sites for those in the United States.

One source told New Sudan Vision the 87 member Task Force met and resolved at their telephone conference that the best course of action to take would be to channel  their concerns to the headqaurters back in Southern Sudan.

Now, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission/Bureau has just made official its approval of  five new registration centers for those living in the United States to vote in Janaury 2011.

The five new centers added are Chicago, Seattle, Nashville, Dallas and Boston.

Previously, only three centers comprising of Omaha, Phoenix and Washington D.C.were approved, where registrations have been on going since November 15.

Initially, the SPLM chapters' leadership decided to make the case for more centers on behalf of the large Southern Sudanese population living in the U.S., considering that much is at stake in the upcoming referendum on independence of Southern Sudan, which requires a 60 percent threshold of total registered voters.

The leadership was compelled  to make the case to  the IOM, and the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, because according to one representive who spoke with The New Sudan Vision over the phone, the uncertainty surrounding voting in extreme winter weather and snow in January would have made  it hard for those far from voting centers to cast all their votes on January 9  had the number of centers remained at three.

The New Sudan Vision has also learned that in the run upto to the registration, communcation began getting lousy between the GoSS Mission in Washington and the chapters.

It is said there have been more questions than there are answers.

But that sort of confusion may start to clear now that there will be more centers--- eight centers for the population in the U.S.

It is not clear if Southern Sudanese in Canada will get their voting centers increased because their leadership voiced similar concerns.