The Fiji Labour Party strongly opposes, and questions, the new policy statement by the Fijian Elections Office that it will only accept a person’s name as on the birth certificate as the approved name to be printed on the Voter Card.
It cites the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1975 as justification for this requirement. The major impact of this policy will be on tens of thousands of married women who have adopted their husband’s name after marriage.
But Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the 1975 legislation was irrelevant to the issue.
“That legislation refers to persons wishing to change their names. It does not apply in this particular instance. Women who get married, automatically adopt their husband’s name if they wish to do so,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“Secondly, and just as importantly, the requirement may be unlawful. Once a person is registered as a voter, it becomes a lifetime registration. You cannot remove that name from the National Voter Register.
“Your name on the National Voter Registration stays for life. There is no need to re-register,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“Why are people being put to the additional expense of obtaining birth certificates to re-register when there is no need to do so? It is an unnecessary burden placed on the voter,” Mr Chaudhry said.