Concerns raised on voter registration ahead of polling day

Concerns raised on voter registration ahead of polling day

By Sharon Nanau in Afio

As the country prepares to head to the polls tomorrow, concerns on having to travel  far distances to vote was raised by some women in South Malaita and East Are’Are.

Following changes in the country’s electoral voter’s registration process, women have raised that for some villages, little to no notice was given to them on the visits conducted by the voter registration teams visits to their areas.

Speaking to SIBC news, Nancy Wani from Tapa’atewa said they now have to travel twice the distance because they were not aware of the voter’s registration teams travelling to their nearest polling stations during the voters registration period.

“The exact date of when the SIEC voters registration officers will be arriving near our village was not provided to us, many of us the women were tending to our family commitments and farming activities that saw us not being able to register for the polling stations nearest to us, and now we have to travel far on polling day to cast our votes.”

Meanwhile, Angela Wasio from East Are’Are said she and other women in her community needs to look and ask people in their village for transport as they have to travel by boat to cast their votes.

She said this is an added expense and burden for them as some of the women have to travel by boat from which they are expected to pay a small fee or rely on relatives that have boats.

“Currently, despite being related it is quite hard to hop in on boats owned by relatives as all boats are either hired by candidates contesting in the election or was  fully booked for travelling, either way one is placed in a difficult position when wanting to cast their ballot paper on polling day,” said Wasio.

Despite the issue faced by some women with the new voter’s registrations process, the new reform is also welcomed by many women.

Rita Nunu of Hautahe Village said the new process enables true residents of the local communities to vote.

“The past elections I have seen cases of people from South and West Are’Are travelling to vote for certain candidates in the East Are’Are constituency. This I believe to a certain extent has helped candidates win the elections.”

Meanwhile Cathy Lesi from Koropua village said the reform will help address the issue of cross border voting.

Reforms in the new electoral act states that voters are eligible to register for their preferred constituency or ward if they reside in that area for more than 6 months, and they are present in that particular area when the voters registration was carried out.


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