13 September 2018, MALE: The Joint Opposition is extremely concerned that the Elections Commission is refusing to divulge the checked and signed final voter list for presidential elections slated for 23 September.
In a breach from previous presidential elections in the Maldives, the Elections Commission has refused repeated requests from the opposition to hand over the signed final voter list.
It is absolutely imperative that political parties are given the final voter list, so their election monitors on voting day can count voters at each ballot box and ensure that only those named on the final voter list are casting a vote.
If the final voter list is kept secret — as the Elections Commission appears keen to do so — then bogus voters can turn up to the poll and easily cast a fraudulent vote.
The refusal to hand over the final voter list is especially troubling, given the blurred relationship between the Elections Commission and the ruling party.
For example, Elections Commissioner Ahmed Shareef was previously the Secretary-General of President Yameen’s former political party, the People’s Association. The EC is stacked full of other Yameen loyalists who cannot be trusted to fairly administer the vote.
In recent days, the opposition has witnessed the sorry spectacle of Elections Commission officials attending ruling party election rallies, giving speeches in favour of President Yameen, and wearing the pink tee-shirts of the ruling party.
The Elections Commission officials most vocal in their support of President Yameen appear to be those tasked with the job of being the EC’s ‘focal point’ at a ballot box. The focal point officials are those people who are supposed to help to ensure that people are not voting fraudulently.
In recent days, the following officials were spotted actively engaged in the Yameen campaign:
· The Elections Commission official at Aa. Thodoo was photographed at a Yameen campaign event.
· The Elections Commission official at Laam. Gan was videoed speaking at the podium of a Yameen campaign event.
· The Elections Commission official for B. Dharavandhoo was photographed at a Yameen campaign meeting.
· The Elections Commission official for Sh. Maaungoodhoo was photographed at a Yameen campaign event, in a Yameen campaign tee shirt.
· The Elections Commission official for N. Magoodhoo was photographed at a Yameen campaign event, waving the campaign’s flag.
The Joint Opposition has written to the Elections Commission multiple times formally requesting a copy of the final voter list.
The Joint Opposition once again requests the Elections Commission to provide a copy of the final voter list to reduce the likelihood of electoral fraud on polling day.