25th February 09:56 PM
FEO requires any application for new voter registration to be accompanied by Birth Certificate and another ID confirming the person
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 13/02/2020
[Photo: FEO Facebook Page]

The Fijian Elections Office states that it requires any application for new voter registration to be accompanied by the person’s Birth Certificate and another ID confirming the person.

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem says if a second ID is not available, a declaration from another registered voter is accepted.

Although SODELPA Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka has raised concerns on his facebook page on why birth certificates are needed for voter registration and why women cannot use their married names, Saneem says the name of a person on the birth certificate (the Registered Name) is the only approved name that will be printed on the person’s Voter Card.

Saneem says this is in compliance with the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1975.

The Supervisor of Elections says should the person wish to add additional names, surnames or alias, the FEO will not permit the same.

Saneem says as per the requirements of the 1975 law, any person that wishes to include additional names, must first follow the legal procedure and thereafter furnish the Fijian Elections Office with the Deed Poll or a duly issued new Birth Certificate from the Registry.

He says operationally, in the past, the Elections Office has had a liberal approach to this.

However, their experience in 2014 and 2018 General Elections as well as the day to day activities of their field teams has resulted in the finding that quite a lot of people who had adopted other names face difficulties when they use the Voter Card for their purposes as the names do not match the registered name.

This results in the person having to either apply for a Correction of Details or the person having to provide Statutory Declaration of the Alias through a Justice of Peace or Commissioner for Oaths.

Last year, the FEO received 11,536 applications for correction of details while it is common knowledge that 2019 was not an election year.

Saneem says to make things clear, the current procedure is that the FEO will sight the Birth Certificate or a certified True Copy of the Birth Certificate and thereafter confirm the details of the voter on the Electronic Voter Registration System and the Birth Certificate will then be returned to the voter.

He says with 644,749 Voters already on the Voters Register and over 8,880 new registrations in 2019 alone, it is rather frivolous to allude that this exercise is aimed at voter suppression or the like.

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