In a newspaper advertisement about a week ago, the Electoral Office, in compliance with Sections 19 and 21 of the Electoral Act 2004, advised electors (voters) that it is updating the electoral roll for each constituency.
Some political pundits have taken this notice to affirm suggestions, brewing from the Opposition’s office, of a snap election in May.
As stipulated in the Electoral Act 2004, Tangimetua said they call for an update of Cook Islands electoral rolls in March every year.
The Act requires that the chief registrar of electors shall cause to be printed a copy of the main roll for each constituency at least once in each year.
“The electoral rolls are updated every year and published. The last roll was updated in March, 2017 and some amendments like change of constituency and other details were done to it before it was published in December last year,” Tangimetua said.
“We will be updating the details that we managed to gather as of December last year. Updating of rolls will continue until an election is called when a fresh roll will be printed.”
Tangimetua said legally, they need to hold the upcoming general elections by October 9, 2018.
She said they have not been advised of the exact date yet but added they were tentatively looking at September elections.
“Normally the elections has to take place within 90 days of the date of the last elections in the relevant year. The 2014 elections were held on July 9 so legally the next election has to take place by October 9.”
In Parliament last week, Prime Minister Henry Puna told the Opposition not to bother about things “you can’t control” after questions about the rumoured snap elections this May was raised.
“We know what the law is. We have to have the elections by October 9 so we have all this time to figure out when we should have our elections,” Puna told Parliament.
Meanwhile Tangimetua said it was important to make sure that eligible voters were enrolled and that their details are kept up to date.
For people who are not enrolled, they can enroll now by downloading and completing the enrolment form and returning it to the Electoral office.
An elector whose details have changed from that shown on the roll or has since qualified to enroll will be required by law to notify the Electoral Office of the change or apply to register.
“We have witnessed an increase in voter registration in the last update of Cook Islands electoral rolls. These are mostly the new voters who have qualified to register to vote in the next elections,” Tangimetua said.
“Voting is not compulsory but registration is. We encourage people to take part in an opportunity to make a difference and vote.”