Elections Commission announces Saturday 5pm deadline for submitting re-registration complaints

The Elections Commission (EC) has announced a deadline of 5:00pm on Saturday (November 2) to submit complaints regarding re-registration for the first round of the presidential election on November 9 as well as a possible second round scheduled for November 16.

Voter details can be checked in the Maldives by sending an SMS to 1414 in the format ‘VIS [ID#]’, or by calling the helpline on the same number. Registration details can also be checked online at http://elections.gov.mv/index2715.html

The EC noted in its announcement that all re-registration forms submitted by citizens wishing to vote in a location other than their home island have now been processed.

In addition, complaints submitted ahead of the canceled election scheduled for October 19 have also been attended to, the EC said.

The commission also announced that Elections Complaints Bureaus have been set up in Addu City and islands with atoll council offices.

With the exception of Fuvahmulah and Shaviyani atoll, the bureaus have been established at the atoll council offices. The bureau in Shaviyani atoll is located at the first floor of the Atolhuvehi building in Funadhoo while the office in Fuvuhmulah was set up at the atoll house.

The bureau will be open until November 16 from 8:00am to 3:00pm except on Fridays. On Fridays, the bureaus will be open from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.

The complaints form is available from the EC website and the National Complaints Bureau counter on the second floor of the PA complex building as well as the bureaus in atoll and city council offices, atoll election units, and election focal points set up in island council offices.

Phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses of the complaints bureaus can be found at the EC website.

According to the timeline for the rescheduled election, re-registration forms will be sent on November 3 to the Department of National Registration (DNR) for verification of fingerprints – a key demand by two of the three presidential candidates.

The voter registry will be finalised, printed and sent to presidential candidates on November 4. Candidates will be asked to sign the voter lists on November 5 and 6.

Ballot boxes are to be dispatched on November 8, the election will be held on November 9 and the preliminary results will be announced on the same day.

The official results will be announced on November 12, one day after the current presidential term ends.

Re-registration form verification

The DNR revealed last week that 11 out of the 500 voter re-registration forms sent to the police so far for verification have been rejected to date.

At press conferences on Thursday (October 31), the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) said that they have identified several problems with the re-registration forms, after the EC allowed the parties to review the forms last week.

Abdulla Ameen, campaign agent of PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen, told the press that a five-member team from the party reviewed the information on 11,000 forms submitted before October 19 and discovered issues on 20 percent of them.

Among the problems the PPM discovered, Ameen said, included address mismatches, expired ID card numbers, smudged fingerprints, missing signatures, missing phone numbers and incomplete information of witnesses.

The forms should have been rejected by the EC, Ameen argued.

The PPM has therefore asked the EC to verify 6,000 forms either through fingerprint verification or by contacting the re-registered voter, Ameen said.

The verification was necessary to ensure that voters were not re-registered in a different location without their knowledge, he added.

JP candidate Gasim Ibrahim meanwhile told reporters that the party’s team also identified similar problems after checking about 15,000 forms.

Gasim reportedly said that he would not allow the election to be held in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines laid down in the apex court’s judgment annulling the September 7 election.

The re-scheduled election on October 19 was cancelled after the JP and PPM candidates refused to approve the voter registry as required by the Supreme Court guidelines and police obstructed the EC an hour before polls were due to open.

In an interview on the state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM), EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek described the Supreme Court guidelines as “locks” and “restrictions” while expressing frustration with candidates having “veto power” to prevent the election from taking place.