Decreasing voter turnout at Port Vila municipal elections

Trialing of the national ID card at the Port Vila Municipal Council elections last week here seen at Malapoa/Tagabe Ward Tagabe Church polling station.

The declaration of the results of the Port Vila Municipal Council Election last week by the Electoral Commission has been published in the Government gazette, showing the names of the candidates and the number of votes each received and the names of those declared elected.

For Malapoa/Tagabe Ward (3 seats), the Total Registered Voters: 9,062. Total Votes Cast: 2,657. Total void votes: 66. Total Valid votes: 2,591. Turnout: 29%.

Anabrou/Malcoffee Ward (3 seats). Total Registered voters: 6,065. Total votes cast: 1,894. Total void votes: 30. Total valid votes: 1,864. Turnout: 31%.

Freshwota/Tassiriki Ward (4 Seats). Total registered voters: 9,175. Total votes cast: 2,618. Total void votes: 23. Total valid votes: 2,595. Turnout: 29%.

Centre Ward (4 Seats) – Total registered voters: 4,071. Total votes cast: 1,465. Total void votes: 9. Total valid votes: 1,456. Turnout: 36%.

South Ward (3 Seats) – Total registered voters: 2,820. Total votes cast: 963. Total void votes: 21. Total valid votes: 941. Turnout: 34%.

The poor turnout has been attributed to registration of voters and also because voting is not compulsory in Vanuatu. In other countries, it is compulsory. For Vanuatu, the constitution gives people the right to decide whether they wish to vote or not. Even though they have a duty, but the right of each individual as recognized under the constitution is also there.

In order to sort of this out, the Electoral Office needs funding, every time a submission is made to the MBC, it is always refused over so many years now.

The names of the candidates published by the Electoral Commission as duly elected, in accordance with the Municipal Council Election Regulations as amended are as follows:

Malapoa/Tagabe Ward - 1. Yamack Peter – United Movement for Vanuatu People. 2. Joel Langlois – Independent. 3. Reserved Seat – Rose Peter – Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP).

Anabrou/Melcofee Ward – 1. Ulrich Sumptoh – Reunification of Movement for Change (RMC) 2. John William – Vanua'aku Pati (VP) 3. Reserved Seat – Sebeorah Tapau – Leaders Party  of Vanuatu (LPV).

Freshwota/Tassiriki Ward – 1. Willie Satearoto – RMC 2. Moses Stevens Jenery –GJP 3. Yalou Sawia – VP 4. Reserved Seat– Marie Louise Milne – Vanuatu Green Confederation (VGC).

Centre Ward – 1. Vaei Maki – RMC 2. Albert Daniel Mambo –VP 3. Toumelu Pascalyne Cakau - VP 4. Reserved Seat - Leipanga Jimmy – LPV.

South Ward – 1. Eric Puyo Festa – VGC 2. Anthony Harry – Union of Moderate Party 3. Reserved Seat – Jenny Tasale – GJP.

The updating of the Port Vila electoral roll takes place every year, the term of the municipal council of Port Vila is four years, and election takes place every four years.

2009 – Total registered voters: 19782. Total vote cast: 8, 960. Void votes: 105. Valid votes: 8,855. Percentage of registered voters turnout: 45%

2014 – Total Registered voters: 28, 691. Total Vote Cast: 10, 162. Void votes: 139. Valid votes: 10,033. Percentage: 35%.

2018 – Total Registered voters: 31,183. Total Vote cast: 9, 597. Void votes: 149. Valid votes: 9,448

Percentage: 31%

To help resolve issues with the electoral roll of the whole country, which is affecting the voter turnout figures every election, the Electoral Office with the support of the Minister of Internal Affairs, and the government and the civil status office, are working on an electronic card system, the national ID card, says Electoral Commission Chairman Martin Tete. The objective of the initiative is for the ID card can be used officially for voting someday. So, a trial of the use of this card took pace at this past Port Vila Municipal election.

“No law has yet been made to make it a legal document, this is why you will hear that when people go to vote they must also take their electoral card, because it is the legal document that a person can use to cast his/her vote,” Chairman of the Electoral Commission Martin Tete explains.

The national ID card is still being trialed and work on it is not yet complete.

“With this card, we are hoping to clean up longstanding issues with the electoral roll dating back to 1980. These issues include duplication of voting cards – where one person has up to two or three cards, dead people can still be in the roll, some people can vote up to two or three times. These things can affect the turnout and not be the picture of the results as people might think,” Mr. Tete adds.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: Cell # 678 5460922

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.