5,000-plus new voters register

Over 5,000 eligible voters were able to get themselves registered last week in a mad-rush to the registration booths set up by the Office of the Electoral Commission.

The O.E.C. Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Lefau Francis Ainuu, said this number does not include those who left their details with the office for registration.

He was referring to the group of people who were still within the E.F.K.S. Youth Hall at Sogi by 4pm last Friday.

Those who were still around by close of business had their names and contact details recorded, on the understanding that they would be contacted by the O.E.C. to go in to complete their registration.

Despite voter registration awareness by the office in recent months, which also targeted rural communities and villages, hundreds of people turned up at the registration booths on the last days of registration.

Lefau clarified that those who were called in by the O.E.C. to register are only those who were still at the E.F.K.S. Youth Hall.

“These people were already there and it is just a matter of entering their details [in the system],” he said.

“The call was for common sense and it was also for the staff who had worked overtime the whole week and finished at 6 in the morning. 

“The Commissioner and the Management made the call considering that with no rest and the crowd that was registered we are prone to make mistakes…” 

The late minute rush into the E.F.K.S. Youth Hall resulted in over 10 people getting injured or passing out, while standing in the queue to complete their registration. 

Some parents also brought their children with them and were sandwiched by the crowd which pushed through and even broke windows at the church-owned hall.

Lefau could not give an estimate of how many more names were on the list. 

But he held up a handful of A4-size leaflets, which he said had the names of all those who were at the venue, before the closure of registration. 

Furthermore, he said the law is explicit in that no further applications will be accepted and the O.E.C. is only complying with that law by registering those who left their details on the list.

He said the office will be calling in groups of people this week and the next week to enter in the system.

According to Lefau, since the start of the eligible voter registration process, they targeted a total of 14,000 of those who had turned 21 since the last general election. 

He added they have achieved that target and in addition had registered a lot of other senior citizens who did not participate in the elections. 

“We had a 96 year old who is the oldest person we have registered during our door to door registration,” he said. 

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