The Elections Commission has cancelled the re-registration of 5,626 people who applied to vote outside their home island, claiming information on their forms could not be verified.
“If the registration is not changed within this period, they can vote on their island of permanent residence,” the EC said, adding that applicants must bring an original official identification document.
Forms can be submitted to the election centre in Malé, council offices on other islands, and embassies and consulate offices overseas. Forms cannot be mailed or faxed.
EC member Ahmed Akram told the press that the main problem was the inability to verify fingerprints.
The EC announcement came after the joint opposition reiterated allegations of registration fraud by the electoral body to favour the incumbent.
On Thursday, former MP Mohamed Gasm posted recordings of calls from President Abdulla Yameen’s campaign office.
Days after the opposition campaign official submitted his mobile number as a secondary contact number for registration forms from opposition supporters in Sri Lanka, he started receiving calls from several numbers registered to a ruling party activist.
“The callers introduce themselves by explaining they were calling from the [ruling Progressive Party of Maldives] campaign office, and some said they were calling from [unused presidential palace] ‘Muleeaage.’ When Gasam enquired how they had got hold of his number, they hung up,” the joint opposition said in a statement.
“In an apparent attempt to cover up the fraud, the same people called him back from the same number claiming they were calling from the Maldivian Democratic Party.”
The MDP contends the only way the PPM campaign office would have got Gasam’s number was from the re-registration forms he submitted to the EC.
“It also explains why Gasam received many calls from the PPM, rather than just one: because his mobile number was written on many re-registration forms,” it continued.
“The newly leaked audios appear to substantiate accusations that Elections Commissioner Ahmed Shareef is colluding with President Yameen and the PPM to rig the voter’s list. The audios also show that the President is using state resources – his official residence of Muleeaage – for election campaign purposes.”
But the EC denied the allegations. The complaints bureau is investigating the MDP’s allegations as a serious case, spokesman Akram said, also dismissing speculation of a database breach.
Last Saturday, EC chief Shareef denied allegations of registration fraud after it emerged that several people were re-registered elsewhere despite not applying. If there was fraud, political parties were to blame, he said, vowing to seek criminal prosecutions.
But the EC has yet to disclose re-registration information despite Shareef’s assurance that details would be made public within a week.
The re-registration deadline passed nearly two weeks ago.
The opposition also questions the EC’s figure of 95,000 re-registrations forms. It is unrealistically higher than the 62,000 people who re-registered for the last parliamentary elections in 2014, the opposition says.
About 263,000 people are eligible to vote this year.
Last week, the local chapter of Transpareny International warned that “the widespread complaints against the process of re-registration indicates the possibility of disenfranchisement of significant number of voters.”
Elections Commission has invalidated the re-registration forms of all MDP members of my family who re-registered to vote in Colombo. They had filled the forms themselves and submitted to focal points in Colombo directly.
— Mickail Naseem 🎈 (@MickailNaseem) August 24, 2018
I personally went to @ElectionsMv to submit my mother’s re-registration form. I did not let her re-register through any political party because I wanted avoid the confusion. For EC to now say that her form cannot be verified is proposterous! Stop disenfranchising voters!
— Mohamed Shafeeu (@shappiu) August 23, 2018
7368738 Yameen’s campaign office called my mom today morning at 10:28 saying her form was rejected. At 20:33 tonight @ElectionsMv sent her a sms saying her retegistation form had been rejected pic.twitter.com/xBETvutuHd
— ilyas labeeb 🎈 (@ilyas_labeeb) August 23, 2018
I was reregistered to male on 14th Aug. Then I received a message tonight that they could not verify my reregistration application!!!! I filled my own form. Now I am no longer registered to vote in male. If Yamin thinks that he can steal my vote by doing this, it is not happening pic.twitter.com/f8Z8EyZltj
— Aslam 🎈 (@AslamAslamtey) August 23, 2018
In 24 hours:leaked audio suggesting @ElectionsMv handed over voter’s registration info to Yameen.
– cancelling vote registration of many who’d already been registered.
– cancelled vote box at Holiday Inn Kandooma, saying not enough registered.
Mass disenfranchisement, mass fraud.
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) August 23, 2018
Just got notified by EC that my re-registration form has been rejected, but when I checked on Sunday I was re-registered to vote in Male’. @ShareefRangondi I assure you that my very first vote will be cast against YAG and evildoers like you.
— Nafa (@NafaSaleem) August 23, 2018
I seriously don't understand why EC could not verify my information because I personally submitted my re-registration for to the EC booth at Jamaluddin school..& what worries me more is that after I got… https://t.co/q3bVMaK7c2
— unaihs (@unaihs) August 23, 2018
Same call came to me regarding with my wife's re-registration. I refused to share any information to them and just now rejected SMS came from EC
— Vote 4 Ibu (@pee_pee_em) August 23, 2018
This is the extent of @ElectionsMv’s lame explanation on why they decided to cancel re-registration forms of 5576 (as per EC commissioner Habeeb) voters, creating panic all over the country on a Thursday night. EC still hasn’t shared voter list with parties and candidates. https://t.co/KhLLEXnB5L
— Shauna Aminath 🎈❓ (@anuahsa) August 23, 2018
We just discovered that a lot of Voter Re-Registration registered to Malaysia Ballot Box has now reverted to the default Ballot Box. Please spread the news, check and contact the person who assisted with your re-registration.
— Adhaalath Malaysia (@APinMalaysia) August 23, 2018
wth so many people i know have had their voter registrations changed back to their original addresses even though they got confirmation of re-registration to a different location from the EC earlier. major vote fraud alert. @EU_Maldives could you hurry up the sanctioning process.
— xiena saeed 🎈 (@dorinbakedbeans) August 23, 2018
You’ve just disfranchised many who’ve still not returned from Haj.
They will not be back before your 29th deadline, to re submit the forms you’ve fiddled with. You are depriving them of a fundamental right. @akram4535 @ElectionsMv #EUSanctionsNow https://t.co/tuXOXQwPKV
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) August 23, 2018
5,600 re-registration forms rejected. That’s Faafu plus Vaavu atoll population in numbers. Check your registration:
VR (space) 1414 (SMS) https://t.co/Gfey74GTPT (online checking)
Or report Jazeera Raajje https://t.co/YYe4fr1GqG
7776982 (WhatsApp, Viber)
— Luke (@Lucasjalyl) August 24, 2018