Electoral commission considers the 18th birthday before election


THE Electoral Commission is looking at registering 17-year-olds in the coming registration update from July 17 – August 26 this year.

This is provided for under the Electoral Act 2018.

Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) Chief Electoral Officer, Jasper Highwood Anisi told media last Thursday that in the old electoral Act, the voter registration eligibility age was 18 years old which usually denies voting rights to those whose 18th birthday falls before election day but after the registration period.

Anisi said registration of 17 year-olds within the period of registration will allow those whose 18th birthday falls before the election day to be able to vote.

“However, 17-year-old registrants will remain in a separate voter list as 17 years old voter list and will only automatically transfer onto the final list of voters on their 18th birthday,” he said.

In addition, Anisi said pre poll voting at the moment is a provision that allows for election workers who will be working on election day to cast their vote prior to field deployment.

“However, there has bee a lot of discussion around the inclusion of other classes of voters which include the essential worker’s category of voters however, it involves many aspects that need in-dept discussions and technicalities hence will need more time before the commission to deliberate on before it can make decision on,” he added.

Apart from that, Anisi said out of country voting in person or by voting is also another major decision that the commission is yet to make a decision on.

He said Out of Constituency or country voting either in person or through other voting methods is too technical and needs legal reform to ensure, vote secrecy remains protected.

“These are big changes that cannot be implemented at once.

“The amount of time we have and the tendency that the general public will consume or absorb these changes at once is just unrealistic and hence electoral commissions ensures these are adopted one at a time,” he said.

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