Govt tables voter registration amendment Bill
September 20, 2021 1:46 pm
[Source: Fijian Government]
The government has tabled a Bill in parliament to amend the Electoral Registration of Voters Act.
The Bill relates to a recent court ruling that a person does not need to use his or her name in the birth certificate in order to register as a voter.
Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula claims the government is only trying to make changes because the Court of Disputed Returns ruled against the State.
“The Chief Justice only interprets the law. They are the ones who make the law. They are the ones who passed the latest amendment in June and that was tested in the judgement, and they were found wanting”.
However, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum denied this saying the VoterCard is a nationally recognized identification card and cannot be compromised.
“We are living in the 21st century, there’s identity theft, there’s money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism. All countries are moving towards ensuring there’s authentication of the identity of individuals living in their countries”.
Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya also claimed the amendment would disadvantage women who have voted under their married name as they would have to pay up to $500 for a Deep Poll.
“Not only are they taking away the right of a married woman to use her married name to register and to vote, which is what she’s been using as form of her ID and all other IDs, it will also cost those who need to change their names”.
However, the Attorney General has confirmed that the process for legally changing ones name has been changed and is not costly.
“You don’t have to do a Deed Poll, you simply go to the BDM Office, we have dozens around the country where you can go and register your name should you wish to do so”.
It amendment provides that a person’s application to register as a voter must state the full name as specified on his or her birth certificate.
The birth certificate must also be presented to the Fijian Elections Office when registering.
The Bill will be debated on Wednesday.