Old Tbilisi by Nino Narozauli
On April 15, 2011, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) launched a new initiative at the headquarters of Georgia’s Civil Registry Agency (CRA) to improve the country’s addressing system. The aim of the project is to improve the accuracy of voters’ addresses in order to have a more precise voter registration database for elections.
The initiative will begin with a pilot project conducted in two districts of Tbilisi – old Tbilisi and Didube-Chugureti – and will include a component to promote public awareness of the project. It is expected that by the conclusion of the pilot project a minimum of 150,000 individuals will have their addresses updated or corrected in the database. At the same time, legal acts to improve and regulate both the establishment and updating of voters’ addresses will be drafted to ensure that the resulting gains become institutionalized.
The pilot project is based on the CRA’s system for the numeration of streets and squares in municipalities and administrative units. This nation-wide, unified system will enable the project to collect accurate addressing information. After the pilot project is completed, a more optimal approach will be suggested to upgrade the addressing system throughout the country.
The launch event was conducted with the participation of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Jonathan Conly, Deputy Minister of Justice/Head of the CRA Giorgi Vashadze, Central Election Commission Chairman Zurab Kharatishvil, and Director of the Innovations and Reforms Center (IRC) Nato Gagnidze. In his remarks, USAID Mission Director Conly reiterated the importance of having an accurate database of voters’ addresses in order to establish a thorough voter registration database for elections.
IRC is conducting this pilot initiative through a $300,000 subgrant under USAID’s Increased Trust in Electoral Process (ITEP) program, which is implemented by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.