By Gary Hatigeva
AS the registration phase reaches its half way mark, frustrated electors throughout the country are being urged to hold their grudges and frustrations for the Objection and Omission phase of the registration cycle, to point out issues related or are directly done in the face of cross border registrations.
This comes following the mounting frustrations over what many continued to report, alleging an increase in the number of people moving in mass to register in constituencies they don’t reside or have no connections to, which according to allegations, has become very obvious, and angers many.
The issue of cross constituency movement has also attracted wide spread debates and heavy criticisms from the general public, who expressed for something to be done about.
This has unfortunately witnessed so many people taking, what has been described as, the matters of the laws into their own hands, and this according to reports, is a result of a frustrated portion of the voting population who felt they have continuously being denied or overshadowed by those who are involved in the cross border practice, in terms of benefits.
But the authority in earlier statements, been reminding people to refrain from taking these electoral matters in to their own discretion and wait for the right time allowed by the electoral laws, to deal with such issues.
Understandably, this matter is a frustrating thing for people to witness or experience, and also a sentiment many are sharing, but the registration if things are to go by the law and the registration phases, is just one part of the cycle.
People have also been reminded to take note that there are three phases to this registration cycle, and they include the registration of voters, both new and transfers followed by a provisional list, which is currently underway, the Omission and Objection, and then the final version in the lists of names for elections.
According to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC’s) movement plan for the registration process, all registrations programs should be completed by the end of this month (September), followed by the posting of provisional lists, where electors of the 50 constituencies are expected to look through before the Objection and Omission process, which will include public hearings.
Voters and intending candidates are however urged to fully utilize this phase, as it is the only legal avenue available under the laws to remove names of people who are or may be subjected to the cross border registration issue or have not satisfied Section 55(2)(b) of the Constitution.
People can also use the objection period to call for the removal of names or persons from lists if they feel Section 4, subsection 2 and 3 of the Electoral Act 2018, are being breached.
This section defines the status of being an ordinary residence in a constituency and other related matters qualifying electors to register and vote in a constituency.
They then stressed that after this period, the final list is locked down and there is no turning back, and so any activities done to sabotage the registration or the voting processes, are all illegal and will be dealt with under the full force of the law.
Meanwhile, a good number of lawyers spoken to on this, have suggested for people who felt being disadvantaged by the cross border issue, to get hold of what they may have witnessed and strongly felt are in breach of the electoral laws, as evidences and put to test the legal system, after the elections.