Dispute arises over voter registration timeline in Malaita Outer Islands


A contentious debate has emerged in the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) as an outspoken resident, Lawrence Makili, questions the timeline provided by the Electoral Commission for the voter registration process in his constituency.

The Electoral Commission had initially allocated a narrow timeframe, from September 4 to September 10, 2023, for voter registration in MOI.

However, Makili contends that this timeline is unreasonably short, given that a significant number of eligible voters are still located in Honiara.

Underpinning Makili’s argument is the Electoral Law’s prescribed registration period, which extends from September 4 to 29, 2023.

He emphasises that the delay in constituents returning to their electoral district was not due to their negligence but rather a result of inadequate transportation provisions by the government, notably the Franchise shipping service.

Makili anticipates that some voters may still travel to MOI to participate in the registration process, possibly boarding the MV Carolina tomorrow or Friday.

His concern also extends to the allocation of funds for the election process, particularly Australia’s substantial million-dollar contribution.

He queries the whereabouts of these funds and questions why they haven’t been effectively utilised to facilitate a smoother registration process during the designated period.

In response to Makili’s concerns, the Electoral Commission has offered an extension to the registration period. They have assured Makili that the chartered vessel will remain in MOI for an additional two days, allowing more time for constituents to register. The vessel is scheduled to return with Registration Officers on Monday.

To address the ongoing issues and concerns raised by residents like Makili, the Electoral Commission has planned a Media Press Conference for today.

This situation underscores the importance of careful planning and logistical arrangements for election processes, especially in remote and geographically challenging regions like MOI.

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