Donor partners hand over electoral operation centre to SI electoral commission


DONOR partners, including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the European Union, officially handed over the Electoral Operation Centre to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC), yesterday. The ceremony took place at the SIEC Headquarters in Vavaya Ridge, Central Honiara.

Jasper Highwood Anisi, chief electoral officer, expressed his gratitude saying that this marked the culmination of years of friendship and partnership between SIEC, the Solomon Islands Government, and their supporting organisations. He emphasised the importance of these partnerships in upholding the nation’s democratic values.

The SIEC, established under the country’s Constitution, is responsible for conducting voter registration and elections. At the time of the handover, the SIEC was in the midst of an eight-day Nationwide Biometric Voter Registration Exercise, set to continue in three phases until the year’s end.

Anisi also announced preparations for the 2024 national general elections, including Provincial Assemblies, Honiara City Council, and the National Parliamentary Election. These elections will involve over 1000 polling stations across 50 constituencies, excluding Choiseul and Western Assemblies, which conducted their elections in 2022.

The newly established Operation Centre is set to play a vital role in collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating information related to the electoral process. It aims to facilitate real-time issue resolution at Voter Registration Centres and polling stations, ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.

Anisi further explained that the decision to relocate Voter Registration Centres to various constituencies was made to address cross-border issues and enable residents to register where they live or work for more than six months.

The Operation Centre operates under a set of standard operating procedures, with responsibilities that include handling emergency issues from Voter Registration Centres, receiving daily data updates from VRCs, and responding to on-ground issues and queries in real time. The centre is managed by the Operation Manager and his team, along with four field coordinators.

Guests at the handover ceremony included Rod Hilton, the Australian High Commissioner, Patrick Pee, Acting Deputy Resident Representative UNDP, and Michael Burke, Chief Technical Advisor of UNDP (SECSIP).

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