Lack of action against those that did not vote, cited by COI


The Electoral Commission of Inquiry 72 page report noted that those that did not vote during the 2021 general elections haven’t been prosecuted. 

According to the report, 123,571 voters were registered for the 2021 General Election; 98,860 or 78% voted, while 26,711, or 22%, did not vote. 

However, none of the non-voters were prosecuted or fined for non-compliance. The OEC gave no valid reasons for not following up on the prosecution of non-registered or non-voting voters. 

According to the former Commissioner of OEC, there was similar voter behavior in 2019, even with compulsory voting, compared to previous elections. He supported non-compulsory voting as tracking down non-voters after the general election was tough. Many of the oral submissions to the COI supported the existing law that voters should vote at the place where they reside permanently. 

The challenge seems to be conflicting provisions where voters should register to vote in their place of permanent residence or to transfer from one constituency to another where they did not live permanently. 

It was strongly suggested to the COI at the public consultations to thoroughly clean up the electoral rolls; check to remove deceased people from the rolls and examine immigration records to see who is away permanently or temporarily. 

It was also observed that there were more registered voters in some villages than the total population.

This would indicate that many of the registered voters did not live permanently at the said villages. 

It was supported by OEC and confirmed by the CoI findings that major challenges existed in effective communication between OEC and the GoS agencies that collected and stored data critical to preparing the Electoral Roll. 

While some of the problems involved were related to conflicting legislation or confidentiality issues, it appeared that a primary constraint was the unwillingness of senior staff at these GoS entities to share relevant information with OEC. 

Some problems were related to conflicting information on constituencies where voters resided permanently. 

It appeared contradictory to require a voter to vote in the constituency where he or she resided permanently and allow another voter to transfer to another constituency where he or she did not live permanently.