Voters registered for this year’s presidential election have one month left to notify the Election’s Commission (EC) of any change to their permanent residence on the official registry, or else face having to travel to that address to cast their ballot.
The deadline for eligible voters to re-register their current permanent residence on the registry will expire at 16:00pm on August 7 – a month to the day before polling is scheduled to take place.
Local NGO Transparency Maldives told Minivan News today that the process for re-registration was “pretty straightforward”, but vital to ensure that any voter expected to be in a different country or island on polling day would not have to travel potentially significant distances to cast their ballot.
Members of the public wishing to re-register are required to fill a form that can be downloaded here.
Once completed and signed, the form must be submitted at a specially designated area at several locations across the country.
These locations are:
- Addu City – Addu City Council office
- Male’ – EC office
- Hulhumale’ – Gazee school common room
- Vilimale’ – Fishermen Training Centre
For all other islands in the country, re-registration forms must be submitted to the local island council office.
According to Transparency Maldives, the completed re-registration form must be signed and submitted along with a copy of either a valid national ID card, a passport or license card with a photo. The original form of ID must also be shown when submitting the form, according to EC requirements.
For anyone wishing to re-register for another person, the EC requires the signed form to be submitted with both the voter’s own valid ID, as well as a copy of the ID of the individual submitting the form on their behalf.
Transparency Maldives told Minivan News in May that the issue of voters wishing to re-register their permanent place of residence with the EC had been a key concern in the build up to September’s election.
Taking the case of a Maldives national living abroad in Malaysia or Sri Lanka, the NGO previously said that unless a voter re-registered their details with the EC to use a ballot box in that country, they would need to return to their place of permanent residence on polling day.
Transparency Maldives has said that the EC had since been travelling to islands across the country to try and raise awareness over the issue, which reflected what it claimed were “progressive improvements” in the commission’s work to keep voters informed.
Transparency Project Director Aiman Rasheed today said that re-registration had been a “huge issue” during the 2008 presidential election – the first multi-party democratic poll ever held in the Maldives at the time.
However, Rasheed expressed optimism that the EC had this year been given much more time to clean up and amend errors and out of date information in the present voter registry.
“After the constitution was passed in August 2008, there was a truncated period of time before voting was able to take place,” he said, referring to voting that took place just two months later in October of the same year.
Rasheed added that having since held several democratic elections, including voting on local councils back in February 2011, the EC had since had a lot of experience in updating the voter registry.