No report of election manipulation amid concerns over MP involvement in voter registration: SIEC


As the nationwide biometric registration commenced on September 4, 2023, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) has not yet received any formal reports of election manipulation from current Members of Parliament (MP).

This development follows recent media reports where concerned voters raised questions about MPs potentially using constituency resources for voter registration, which could contravene the Electoral Act.

Concerned voters have called upon the Electoral Commission to investigate reports of MPs utilizing constituency boats and vehicles to transport their supporters for voter registration. This practice, according to the voters, may breach the Electoral Act, which prohibits the use of public resources for private election campaign purposes.

To maintain fairness and prevent undue influence that could compromise the electoral process’s integrity, these voters argue that MPs should encourage their supporters to make private registration arrangements.

Hamilton Young Ramo, a resident of Central Kwara’ae in Malaita Province, has expressed his concerns. He fears that incumbent MPs might exploit the registration process by financially supporting their supporters to register in their respective constituencies. Such a strategic move could potentially provide these MPs with an advantageous position in the forthcoming elections. Ramo’s concerns underscore the importance of the Electoral Commission’s vigilance and proactive measures in addressing potential irregularities during the registration phase. He characterizes the alleged practice as a form of corruption that could undermine the integrity of the upcoming election.

However, Chief Executive Officer of SIEC, Jasper Highwood Anisi, clarified that no written submissions or complaints regarding election manipulation have been received thus far.

However, he emphasized that there are roughly 21 days remaining in the registration period, and such issues could still arise. Anisi urged citizens to keep these reports as evidence because, in the event of a win, they could serve as a basis for petitions. He also noted that SIEC’s role is to provide services, not to police or make judgments. It is the duty of citizens to bring grievances to the court of law for resolution.

Anisi added that SIEC can support by providing evidence based on what their officials observe on the ground. SIEC’s mandate primarily includes organizing registration and elections but does not involve determining legal consequences for offenses.

In response to concerns about MP involvement in the registration process, SIEC clarified that there are no specific provisions in the Electoral Act to restrict candidates and political agents during the registration process.

However, they pointed to Sections 115 and 118, which emphasize the protection of the register and preventing obstruction or threats against electoral officials. Section 115 pertains to the alteration of information in the register without authorization, while Section 118 addresses obstructing or threatening electoral officials in their official capacity.

SIEC issued a warning to intending candidates not to actively involve themselves in the registration process. They stressed the importance of allowing eligible voters to freely choose where they wish to be registered based on the eligibility criteria outlined in Section 42 of the Electoral Act.

SIEC also cautioned those registering for the first time or transferring to another constituency to ensure they register in a constituency for which they are eligible. Registration in an ineligible constituency could lead to objections during the objection period, potentially resulting in the deletion of registrations from the list.

As the Nationwide Biometric registration continues, the Solomon Islands’ electoral authorities remain vigilant in ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process. Citizens are encouraged to report any irregularities, and the Electoral Commission will continue to monitor the registration process closely.

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