Dear Editor – I have seen displayed in your Monday 20th October 2014 issue, the illustration of the process along which voting would be done.
I have noticed that this process does not match the whole intention of conducting the completed nation-wide BVR process.
This is because of the situation where the use of finger-print machines, computers and ID cards together as means to identify voters are missing.
This has raised in my mind the doubts if this process would truly give us the credible results that we are so trying to have.
The reason being, it is a fact that the old system of checking names and using inking during the casting of votes, which is assumedly the process that is going to be employed, does not have the strength to avoid the use of other people’s names or forgery and thus can easily be undermined.
This is with people voting twice or more by forging the names of others or voting on the names of those who have registered, but do not come to the polling station on the Election Day.
Past experiences with this sort of process of casting ballots seem to show a clear indication of exactly that. In mentioning that, we will never going to fully address the problem of forging of identity if we were to use this process in this coming election.
Although I fully appreciate the work of the BVR in dealing with double registrations to a greater extent, I do fear for its outcome, given the system of presenting ID cards aided by the use of the finger-print and computers will not be used.
Fair voting provided by an absence of using other people’s identity or forgery during elections is a means to achieve good and justifiable election results. Not having that is an indication of something otherwise.
There is reason to assume that this coming election will likely to have people using the names of others.
This is made more probable by the fact that most of our rural people are often shy and silent when it comes to reporting criminal matters that do not directly involve them to police.
Similarly, the SIEC should have known better that there are some individuals out there who will never stop from committing electoral offences.
For instance, before the BVR process, the SIEC have made it known through the media and awareness that those who are caught registering twice or more will face the law.
With nothing at all seen done to the perpetrators in terms of being charged and prosecuted, I wonder if people will fear the process they are now suggesting, given that it is the same old system of casting votes. The only difference being the use of ID cards, which is unlikely to fully avoid people lying during voting.
Having mentioned that, I do not think the SIEC will now change their choice of the process they have decided to use during the upcoming election. But I would suggest that they think carefully the next time round.
This is because failing to do so will continue to see people forging or using the names of others during the casting of votes.
The SIEC must not also forget that we have already heard rumors over the media on intending candidates making their own sample replicas of the ID cards for their diehard fans, which should ring a bell that producing something much closer or even the same as what they have done is not a distant away, given the level of technology that is at our disposal nowadays.
Moreover, the BVR registration process has been one that saw the government asking for millions of dollars from overseas donors to fund it.
As such, conducting an election on a process that does not really come close to reflecting part of its priority aims will just be a waste of time and resources and also puts doubt on whether the exercise could be proclaimed as a true success.
This is because the part of the problems that it is trying to solve and one that is only avoidable will still continue to linger and only God knows too well for how long it is going to last. In this regard, I suggest that come the 2018 national general elections, the SIEC must consider and hence ensure that the finger-print machines, computers and ID cards are put to good use. It will be a great mistake on their part not to do it.
I am giving this suggestion on the fact that, as have mentioned above, the ID cards can be messed with by producing exactly the same duplicates. Moreover, without the finger-print machines and computer to fully confirm the identity of individuals, I greatly doubt if ID cards alone can be used to provide an election result that it is both true and fair.
But I am afraid that from now and onwards, due to the SIEC’s choice of using the old system of voting during the polling day, which rendered the use of voter ID cards a matter of choice, that the results we will have be one that is fair.
I only hope our people are good enough to avoid cheating during voting.
Finally, the idea of using the former process of voting therefore provides the imminent need to make available polling booths for those who have registered under their local constituencies here in the capital.
Moreover, the desire of the Electoral Commission to use the old system of voting has now made it unreasonable to make any excuses in justifying the cause for not providing polling booths.
Again, not doing that will not reflect the law limiting candidates spending their campaigning funds to only $50,000.
This is because the cost of chattering sea vessels to carry people or paying for their sea fares from Honiara and back will have already exceeded the amount.
God Save our Beloved Solomon Islands from corrupt influences, intentions and people!
Pan Pacific Residential Area