Voter registration update for Western and Choiseul launched

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THE Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) has launched the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) update for Western and Choiseul province hopes to commence on November 28, 2017.

The BVR exercise will be conducted in readiness for the two provinces to conduct their provincial Assembly elections early next year.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs George Palua, Acting Chief Electoral Officer Alphonsus Pero and SIEC Operation Manager Freddie Bosoboe update donors, stakeholders and the local media yesterday of the BVR exercise and the SIEC communication yesterday.

This is an update, not a re-registration, and that it is for Choiseul and Western Provinces only, as a start towards the goal for a complete update of the Voters Registrar for all Provinces before the next National General Elections, according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs George Palua.

Acting Chief Electoral Officer Mr Pero said the national general election process is anticipated early 2019.

“Gearing towards these events, Solomon Islands Electoral Commission is now lifting our work commitments in its electoral pre-election activities. Looking towards Elections, SIEC is embarking on three major initiatives,” he said.

Pero said first there will be an update of the voters register for Choiseul and Western Provincial Assembly Elections which is commencing in November.

Second will be a nation-wide update of the voters register in mid-2018 – this will cover all provinces.

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

The Acting Chief Electoral Officer said the voters register created in 2014 is now almost three years old and needs to be updated for provincial elections and National General Election as it does not contain people who were too young at the time during BVR exercise in 2014 but are now aged 18 or above.

He said the SIEC will again be collecting biometric information from the public throughout this voter registration process, in the form of thumb prints and photographs.

Pero said the public will then provided with the Provisional Lists showing all those who registered for inspection after the Choiseul and Western provinces BVR exercise, and any complain thereafter, will be submitted during the period of Omissions and Objection.

“These complaints will then be heard in Public hearings where complainers will be given the opportunity to defend their case,” he said.

Pero said the voters lists for Choiseul and Western will be provided by the Office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS).