Elections Commission decides to verify all re-registration forms

The Elections Commission (EC) has decided to verify fingerprints on all re-registration forms submitted by citizens wishing to vote outside their home island after the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) disputed the accuracy of the re-registration process.

EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek told newspaper Haveeru this morning that 41,000 forms were sent to the Department of National Registration last night (November 5) and more would be sent once they were processed. The DNR forwards the forms to the police for fingerprint verification.

More than 71,000 people re-registered to vote elsewhere in the presidential election scheduled for Saturday, November 9.

While the PPM and JP threatened not to sign the lists yesterday, the candidates from both parties agreed to approve the registry following a meeting with President Dr Mohamed Waheed this morning.

The JP had asked the commission last night to verify all 71,000 voter re-registration forms, while the PPM asked for the verification of 6,000 forms in which the party had identified issues.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict annulling the September 7 vote, asked the EC to obtain fingerprints of all voters who wished to register to vote in a location other than their permanent address.

The JP claimed yesterday that they had received information from the DNR that the department had not been able to verify 12,000 fingerprints because the prints were unclear. An additional 3,000 forms had fingerprints that did not belong to the voter, JP alleged.

Thowfeek however told Minivan News yesterday that the DNR had noted problems with only 294 forms.

“But the DNR has not said even these forms are fraudulent. They told us the mismatch might be because the quality of database of fingerprints in their database is low. It may also be possible that the voter had given prints of two different fingers to the DNR and on the reregistration form,” he said.

The EC had called all 294 voters, and all voters have testified to the accuracy of the forms, Fuwad noted. There have been no complaints on reregistered location, he added.

“So I do not understand why the PPM wants us to verify another 6,000 forms. Two of the forms they have asked us to verify are that of two senior EC staff. And these staff have said they have no problems with their forms. So why should the PPM ask for verification? Even if they could point out a problem with 100 forms, they have grounds to complain. But there are no complaints,” Fuwad said.