Electoral Commission launches pre-electoral activities

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THE Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) has launched the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) update for Western and Choiseul provinces.

The launching yesterday marks the commencement of a registration update exercise for the two provinces from November 2017 to January 2018.

Speaking during the launching yesterday at the SIEC office compound, Acting Chief Electoral Officer Alphonsus Pero said as the next National General Election looms, SIEC is gearing up its work commitment on pre-election activities.

“Looking towards Elections, SIEC is embarking on three major initiatives. First there will be an update of the voter registration for Choiseul and Western Provincial Assembly Elections which is commencing shortly,” Pero said.

He said the second is the nation-wide update of the voter registration in mid-2018 which will cover all provinces.

“The third major task will be the conduct of the National General Election, most likely in early 2019.”

Pero said the voter registration list created in 2014 is now almost three years old and needs to be updated for provincial elections and the upcoming National General Elections.

“This is because it does not include people who were too young at the time during Biometric Voter Registration exercise in 2014 but are now aged 18 or above.

“It is estimated that across the whole country there are some 30,000-young people that are now eligible to register as a voter and it is one of our target for this voter registration update.

“The register also needs to be updated to reflect where people are now living; and we need to do our best to cleanse it by removing the names of persons who have passed away since it was first compiled.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs George Palua said the launching marks the fulfilment of one of the Government’s commitments to ensure public and other stakeholders are constantly engaged and interested in electoral matters.

As such, Palua said eligible persons residing in Choiseul and Western provinces not on the register, will shortly be provided with an opportunity for the first time to register for their upcoming Provincial Assembly Elections, and an opportunity for the two provinces to use the most updated list in their two provincial elections which falls before the National General Elections.

“It is important for us all to note that this is an update, not a re-registration, and that it is for the Choiseul and Western provinces only,” Palua said.

“This update adds to the current register, allowing those who have recently turned 18; those who did not register in 2014 but were eligible to do so; transfers and those who wish to make changes to their current registration details, to do so.”

He added that the update also provides an opportunity to remove the names of those who have passed away since the Biometric Voter Registration programme that took place in 2014.

Palua said Choiseul and Western Provincial Assembly Elections will be held on a date to be set by officials from the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening.

“All the remaining Provinces will have their update as part of the nation-wide voter registration update in mid-2018 in readiness for the National Elections in early 2019.”

The registration update for the two provinces before their provincial elections, are necessary because there has been no update of the electoral roll since the national wide BVR process undertaken in 2014.

Teams of registration officials will be sent out to the two provinces as of next month to engage in the registration update exercise.

–SIEC PRESS

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