(SIEC Press): The Office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (OSIEC) strongly warns intending candidates and voters to refrain from buying and selling voter ID cards.
In a statement, the Chief Electoral Officer Moses Saitala said there are reports of intending candidates or their agents, collecting voter registration cards and providing money and other benefits in exchange.
“Likewise, voters are literally ‘selling’ their voter ID cards as a promise to vote for an intending candidate in return for a benefit, money or in kind.
“SIEC has noticed an influx of people seeking card replacements at the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission office,” Mr Saitala said.
SIEC had already publicly explained that voters can still vote without their voter ID cards, but some voters insisted some candidates wanted the cards.
“Buying or selling” of a voter’s ID card can be classified as a bribery offence and carries heavy penalties under the new Electoral Act.
“According to the new Electoral Act Section 126, it is an offence to buy or sell votes. It carries a maximum penalty of $150,000 or 15 years imprisonment or both,” he said.
The Chief Electoral Officer further explained that the new Electoral Act can also penalise voters.
“The new Electoral Act also states that voters soliciting the sale of their votes for any kind of benefit from a candidate can also face a maximum penalty of $150,000 or 15 years imprisonment or both,” Mr Saitala said.
“Both the person who offers a benefit and the one who accepts it incur an electoral offence.”
The Chief Electoral Officer said the Electoral Act 2018 has already come into force.
“My office continues to urge intending candidates and registrants to be mindful of their actions; and do things within the bounds of the law.”
Meanwhile the OSIEC reminded people who were influenced and duly registered in a wrong constituency to visit registration teams in their correct constituencies and transfer their voter registration details before September 27th, 2018.
The CEO reiterated that it is an offence to provide misleading information to Electoral Officials therefore, eligible voters must register in the constituency they ordinarily reside in.