Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.14
There are going to be 13,626,357 registered voters going (or not) to the polls; since the last parliamentary 2007 elections, some 1,836,005 voters have vanished away from the then 15,462,362 registered voters. This post will try to find out what happened.
How can a Moroccan citizen lose the right to vote? Short of dying or serving a prison sentence, there are very few ways a Moroccan citizen would be denied registration. In fact, those cases where registered voters have to undergo some administrative changes have been listed in a communiqué from the Interior Ministry:
أما بخصوص التشطيبات التي باشرتها اللجان المذكورة، تنفيذا لأحكام القانون المنظم لعملية تجديد اللوائح الانتخابية العامة، فقد بلغت في المجموع 694.594 شطبا، منها 284.360 تهم حالات نقل التسجيل، و136.718 تهم الأشخاص الذين تأكد للجنة المختصة أنهم لا يستوفون شرط الإقامة الفعلية بتراب الجماعة أو المقاطعة، و95.704 تتعلق بعدم إثبات الأشخاص المعنيين بالأمر لهويتهم استنادا إلى بطائقهم الوطنية للتعريف، و63.740 تهم حالات الوفيات، و60.578 تتعلق بحالات فقدان الأهلية الانتخابية، و53.374 تتعلق بالتسجيلات المتكررة، إضافة إلى 120 حالة شطب استنادا إلى أحكام قضائية.
Those changes that actually reduce the number of registered voters are those unable to produce compelling ID documents (95,000) those who passed away (63,000) and those ex-voters who lost the right to vote (60,000). The other cases only re-arrange the total electoral corps. These changes, incidentally, are relative to the last time Electoral lists have been updated, and that was on May and June 2011, prior to the July Constitutional Referendum.
The communiqué boasts an additional 1,214,003 new registered voters, but one needs to take into account those crossed off the electoral list, which means that the actual new batch of fresh registered voters is only 519,409 and the sad news is, that’s roughly the number of voters PJD candidates got in 2007. More saddening is the fact that out of 21,586,000 adults (according to HCP computations) only 13 Million will be allowed to vote: more than a third of eligible Moroccans will not vote, and that alone says it all: our fellow citizens are not interested in national politics. While it might be true that 56% of those voters are less than 35years-old, it does not provide enough insight of how many of those first-time voters (specifically the 18-25 bandwidth) make up; more specifically, how many of the 4,453,000 young, first-time voters Moroccans are registered in these 7Mln?
With these figures at hand, I have to admit all those computations and speculations about the Youth vote, the Turnout and related indicators have been built out of thin air, and therefore lose all meaningful purpose, just like the next elections; this is the defeat of political activism on behalf of all political blocs before political apathy: Feb20 activists failed to enlist Moroccans in their struggle for democracy and their challenge to the regime; Officials failed to convince Moroccans to register en masse and thus buttress the claim these elections will have granite-solid legitimacy, and finally, political parties who did not seem interested in widening their popular base, and instead went for knifing each others – like in this unfortunate video where a petulant Benkirane blows off unnecessarily:
(video circulated by RNI-ADI activists)
This still does not explain how 1.8Mln voters vanished away from the registrars’ books, but it rather points out the way to explain it: fewer young voters are making up for the elderly -necessarily registered- who pass away. It is a known fact older people have higher registration rates; as reported by the RDH50 Report. While this does not show political apathy per se, it does however stress the lack of confidence partisan politicians enjoy among that population, one that makes up for 1/3 of total population.
The same HCP projections show that adult population aged less than 60 increased 1.4Mln between 2007 and 2011. The elderly population (60 and above) on the other hand, increases some 282,000, and among those aged 65 and above only 100,000. In other terms, the population that expericenced high levels of registration (a 60years-old Moroccan would have been a registered voter in 1972 with a much higher proportion back then) is giving way to one wtih much lower registration rates; indeed, while the elderly scored a 11% increase, the number of first-time voters (the 18-25 interval) managed only a third of this growth rate; so the replacement ratio, so to speak, does not apply; even under the most optimistic projections, only one out of three old voters is replaced at the other end of the age spectrum; When the mortality rate (around 120 per 1,000 adult) is computed on the elderly population (around 300,000) we can account for 1.2Mln out of the missing 1.8Mln. The rest being mainly split across population deprived from civil rights (with a prison population standing around 63,000 according to reports) and the migration effects.
But one can be sure of it: the decline in the electoral corps is due to the non-replacement of old voters by the new generation; While it is true those born after 1975 make up half of total voters, those born in the 1980-1990s did not register in commensurate proportions to make up for demographic decline, and they certainly did not register in large numbers enough to match the adult population.