The Ministry of Home Affairs has advised the Electoral Commission that the Solomon Islands National Election day, Wednesday 4 August, will be declared a national public holiday.

The confirmation was made today to the Electoral Commission by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs, the ministry responsible for declaring national public holidays.

"We have been advised that the legal instrument to declare election day a public holiday has been signed, as recommended by the Electoral Commission," Mr Haununu said.

"The Electoral Commission is now satisfied that every voter, whether they are employed or not, has an equal chance to go to the polling station where they are registered to vote, and cast one vote for a candidate of their choice."

Mr Haununu said the decision to declare the election a national public holiday was not a new one.

"Previous National General Elections have also been declared public holidays to allow everyone the same chance to vote," Mr Haununu said.

"Many of the 900 polling stations across the country are schools, and so the public holiday also means that these buildings are available to the Electoral Commission and voters for polling day."

Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Polycarp Haununu, has called on all registered voters to exercise their democratic right to freely, fairly and safely cast their vote this coming Wednesday.

"Polling stations will be open from 7.00am until 5.00pm only, so people should arrive early to cast their vote," Mr Haununu said.

"The current law does not allow voters to cast their vote after 5pm, even if they are standing in line waiting to cast their vote," Mr Haununu said.

Mr Hanunu advised voters across the country to check the election final notice posted by Returning Officers in their area.

"This final notice has a list with the names of voters registered to vote at that polling station, a list of candidates and their symbols," Mr Haununu said.

"Our advice is for people to check this list now so that you know where to vote before election day."

Mr Haununu said that the notice also had a list of every village in each constituency and the polling station they were allocated to.

"There are new polling stations for this election because of our growing population, so people may have to vote at a different polling station than in 2006," Mr Haununu said.

"Voters really need to check their names before election day to know where to cast their ballot paper," Mr Hanunu said.

"Voters can only cast their vote at the a polling station if their name appears on the voters' list at that polling station,"

The Electoral Commission encourages everyone to cast their vote according to electoral laws.

"Vote once and only in the place where your name appears on the voters' list."

Source: Press Release, Electoral Commission