Mass voter registration soon

New Zealand is providing Vt122.6million towards the first ever mass voter registration campaign in Vanuatu. Photo: Kizzy K

A mass registration campaign aimed at registering more than 160,000 voters throughout Vanuatu’s six provinces ahead of the Luganville Municipal, SANMA Provincial and National elections will begin soon.

This is set to be first ever largest voter registration exercise in Vanuatu’s history.

The government of New Zealand (NZ) has recently stepped up to offer Vt122.6 million towards the National Voter Civil Registry Campaign, following initial funding proposals to some development partners that failed.

The Electoral Office and the Department of Civil Registry will be taking the lead in the National Voter Civil Registry Campaign.

Trainings have started for all the civil registry and election officers who will be capturing civil and voter data, issuing national ID cards and voter cards for a period of six months, starting in Luganville and SANMA Province next week.

Having accurate and up to date voter registrations are critical to ensuring universal suffrage and allowing orderly voting, said the Minister responsible for elections, Andrew Napuat.

“While maintaining voter registry is one of the most important functions of Vanuatu electoral office, the quality of the registry has been by far the greatest concern of electoral authorities.

“It is timely that we step up efforts to ensure that we deliver to the expectation of our citizens during election registry period and elections,” he said.

He thanked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of NZ for their assistance towards the successful implementation of the voter registration campaign.

NZ has been working with UNDP and the Vanuatu Electoral Office since 2018 to strengthen the capacity of the electoral authorities and improve the accuracy and integrity of the voter registry, said the NZ High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jonathan Schwass.

“The concept of free and fair elections and the strengthening of democracy are as important to Vanuatu as they are to us, and at the heart of this is confidence in the electoral registry and electoral processes.

“The Vanuatu Electoral Commission and Electoral Office have won a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality elections here in Vanuatu and NZ is pleased to assist,” he said after handing over material and registration kits to Minister Napuat yesterday.

NZ’s funding will also support training and logistics for staff involved in the voter registration campaign including a joint civil and voter registration technical and operational manual.

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