An official election date is yet to be announced. What seemed like a draft SI prepared for the Governor General to sign was circulating yesterday on social media indicating that the Prime Minister was dissolving the National Assembly today. The Government Press Office later issued a release saying it was a fake document. With that announcement the public was once again left in limbo with only reports that election day will be on November 4. While the date is yet to be announced those at the Elections and Boundaries Department are planning the process and getting their files ready. New voters’ registration continues do date but according to the Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai, if the date is indeed November 4 then the only eligible voters are those who voted prior to September 11.
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “We don’t know what date the election would be so we know we have a continuous registration cycle so registrations are still on going. Depending on the date of election then we would be able to provide a clearer picture. What I can tell you that we know that over the past few months we have seen registration increase and I’ll go as far as to tell you that from July up until this last cycle that we have we have seen over 18,000 applications for new registrations. So we know that persons are coming out to get registered to vote.”
Reporter: But the transfer period is closed it’s only for new registration.
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “Only new registrations. Actually for transfers we had a little bit over 8,500 applications for transfer during the months of July and August. If election is on the 4th of November as you’re saying then the closing date for persons to get registered who will be eligible to vote in the upcoming election would have been on the 11th of September because the list of persons who are eligible to vote in an election is the official list of electors that is in effect as of nomination day.”
Tamai went on to speak on the issue of illegal transfers which has been a point of contention for standard bearers from all sides of the political fences.
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “What the registering officers are required to do once they get an application they physically visit those addresses to verify with the chief occupant if those persons actually reside there or not. If they are satisfied based on their investigations that the person does reside there then those names are included on the monthly supplementary list for that electoral division. If they’re not satisfied then they would disallow that application. Whenever they disallow an application the person has a right to appeal the decision of the registering officer and I don’t know if you’ve been following up but over the past months we have had several appeals that have been heard in the courts and many of those persons even though our officers are not satisfied based on the evidence that the persons would provide the court would add those persons onto the list because they would present some evidence to the court and we must respect the decision of the courts so that is when it comes to appeals. I know that in the past and even when we’ve had appeals the media does not really follow up those cases but those are similar to objections because that is telling me that even though we are not satisfied then the courts have the authority to put those persons on the list based on the information that is provided. Many times we would summons the persons to go to the court who would provide us with information but the persons refuse to go to court to testify as witnesses for some reason. As citizens many persons are afraid of going to the court but many of those are the same people who complain. I would want to ask persons to please help us in this process. If you know somebody does not reside at your house then when our officers go there let them know that the person does not reside there because we can do our part but the public has to do their party and the chief occupant has to do their part as well.”
Again, if elections are indeed on November 4 you will only be able to vote if you had registered by September 11.