THE Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) has approved new sets of Independent Candidate Election symbols for parliamentary candidates to be used in the upcoming 2024 Joint Election in April.
The main purpose of giving symbols to independent candidates and party candidates is to help illiterate voters, who cannot read the candidates’ names, to find their candidate on the ballot paper and to facilitate their voting by looking at the symbol.
Symbols also allow electors to distinguish one candidate from another.
Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner Jasper Highwood Anisi said the current Candidate Symbols were used before and in the 2019 National General Election (NGE) and later in by-elections over the past 4 years.
He stated that according to Section 75 (b) and (c) of the Electoral Act 2018 states –
“75. Alongside a candidate’s name, a ballot paper must include;
(b) if the candidate is an independent candidate who elects to be represented by a symbol – a symbol allocated by the returning officer for the constituency.
(c) if the candidate is representing a political party – the party symbol registered under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.”
Note that section 141A of the Electoral Act 2018 modifies the application of section 75 for the 2019 general election only and states –
“(1) This section applies to the general election held in 2019 NGE only.
Despite section 75, a candidate representing a political party may use an alternative symbol allocated by the returning officer for the constituency if, together with his or her nomination form, the candidate gives the returning officer a certificate signed by the executive of the political party approving the use of an alternative symbol.”
Therefore, the candidate symbols to be used in the 2024 Joint Elections will only be for the independent candidates, and the political party candidates must use their respective party symbols.
CEO Anisi further explained that the Secretariat recommends that for the 2024 Joint Elections, the new candidate symbols will be used for the Parliamentary Elections.
“The Secretariat identified thirty-eight (38) new symbols with the same background color for the independent candidates wishing to stand for the Parliamentary Election.
“The existing independent candidate symbols, which were used in the past, will now be used by the independent candidates vying for a seat in the Provincial Assemblies and Honiara City Council,” he added.
Having two (2) different sets of candidate symbols for the two elections, it will be easier for the voters to identify their preferred candidate at the Parliamentary and Provincial or Honiara City Council levels.
CEO Anisi affirmed that the new set of independent candidate symbols for use at Parliamentary elections has been carefully scrutinized by the Operations Team.
SIEC continues to acknowledge the Australian government, New Zealand Government, UNDP – DFAT, and EU, Support, the Solomon Islands Government, and other donors who have helped fund this election exercise.
CEO Anisi also acknowledges the New Zealand Electoral Commission (NZEC), Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), and The Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network (PIANZEA), Electoral Management Bodies who have supported one way or the other.
The Electoral Commission is an independent and impartial permanent body established under the Constitution to promote and strengthen democracy in the Solomon Islands through the delivery of free and fair elections.
For Election Happenings, follow SIEO’s Facebook @SIelectoralcommission page and website on www.siec.gov.sb Or for general inquiries, you can call the office hotline phone on 7222200 or landline 21198.