EC says wants monthly electoral roll update

By G. Manimaran (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Election Commission (EC) is considering gazetting the electoral roll every month and enabling new voters to check their status as early as four weeks after registration.
Currently the EC updates the electoral roll every three to four months, a practice which was put in place eight years ago.
“We are studying the possibility of changing the practice of gazetting the electoral roll from every quarter to every month,” said EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
“Perhaps, within four to six weeks, the registration status can be known,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
The move would enable more newly registered voters to exercise their right in elections.
The EC made the move following complaints that the agency takes too long to confirm a voter’s registration.
For example, the status of a registration made in early January can only be known the following May as the gazetting process, which includes displaying the electoral roll to public and objection period, takes more than four months.
If an election were to be called within the quarter, the applicant would not be able to vote.
In Election 2008, those who registered between January to early March did not make it into the electoral roll used for the election.
Abdul Aziz added, with the new system, Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations, 2002 would have to be amended. The last amendment eight years ago enabled the EC to update the electoral roll every three months.
Prior to 2002, the EC only gazetted the voters’ registration once every year, which resulted in heavy criticism against the commission when about one million new voters could not exercise their right.
The 2002 amendment also enabled registration of voters to be conducted throughout the year, but verification and gazetting process was held only every three months.
Abdul Aziz, however, did not say when the new system would be implemented.
He added that the proposed administrative amendment to the regulations does not need to be tabled in parliament and that a notification to Cabinet would be sufficient.
The changes would require an increase in the number of EC staff.