As per the Elections General Act, the Elections Commission published the initial Voters Registry on 10th June 2018, thereby fulfilling the requirement in section 9 of the aforementioned Act to publish the Registry 45 days prior to the date of the Presidential Election. Following the publication of the Voters Registry, the Commission made a public announcement asking for the submission of complaints regarding the Voters Registry between the 11th and 20th of June, in order for the Commission to be able to rectify any errors in the Registry. The Voters Registry was also sent to Political Parties for verification, and to allow them to submit complaints if any.
Upon receiving complaints, the Voters Registry was amended accordingly, and the amendments to the Registry were published on 1st July 2018 as per section 11 of the Elections General Act. The Commission further announced for the submission of complaints to the Amended Voters Registry between 2nd and 12th of July 2018. After the Amended Voters Registry was amended accordingly, as per section 12(a) of the aforementioned Act, the Commission opened applications from the 17th of July to the 11th of August for voters to re-register at the respective electorates they wish to cast their vote at on the day of the election.
The Commission notes that all complaints raised regarding re-registration procedures were addressed in a transparent manner. In this regard, following several complaints by political parties and Maldivian employees in resorts about the Commission’s decision to place ballot boxes in resorts where more than 250 Maldivians re-register to vote, the Commission revised its previous decision and lowered the requisite number to 100.
The Commission also received complaints about the validity of the re-registration forms and addressed this by working with Maldives Police Service to verify the fingerprints on the re-registration forms to ensure that the form was submitted by the relevant individual. Forms which could not be verified were cancelled by the Commission and the respective individuals were provided an opportunity to re-register from the 27th to 29th August. During this timeframe, individuals who had re-registered to vote in locations that did not have a sufficient number of voters to warrant a ballot box in that location were also given the opportunity to re-register. After the re-registration process was completed, the final ballot boxes and locations were published on 2nd September 2018.
The Final Voters Registry was published on the Commission’s website on 4th September 2018 and the Government Gazette on 5th September 2018. The Voters Registry was subsequently shared with the Presidential candidate or representatives of the Presidential candidate in both PDF and Excel format, thus giving them the opportunity to sign the aforementioned finalized registry from 8th to 12th September, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Guideline.
Throughout this process, as per the Elections General Act, the presidential candidates and political parties have the right to submit any complaints they may have, to the Commission, with further rights to appeal the case to the High Court if they are dissatisfied with the action taken by the Commission regarding their complaint. The Commission notes that it did not receive any complaints regarding the Voters Registry nor were any such cases submitted to the High Court. The Voters Registry was signed by Representatives of both Presidential Candidates after verification, on 12th September 2018, thereby ensuring the legitimacy of the Final Voters Registry.
The Commission notes that the Final Voters Registry published on the Commission’s website on 4th September 2018, signed by the Representatives of both Presidential Candidates, is the Final Voters Registry which will be used in any constituency of the Maldives or abroad during the Presidential Elections and shall be the legal document to be used for all purposes. All parties interested in accessing the Final Voters Registry can easily access this list on the Commission’s website(https://www.elections.gov.mv/ec/presidential_elections/Presidential_Election_2018.html).
The Elections Commission reiterates that it will follow all required legal procedures to ensure that impartial, free, fair, transparent and credible elections are held on 23rd September 2018. The Commission calls upon all parties to refrain from spreading false regarding the electoral processes which may create mistrust among the public and international partners during this crucial time and calls for all parties to support the Commission in its commitment to hold impartial, free, fair, and transparent elections.
17th September 2018