To prepare for Parliamentary elections in 2014, the government of Solomon Islands has hired Canadian firm Electoral Services International Inc. (ESI) to undertake electronic Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in Solomon Islands entrusted ESI of Ottawa, Canada with the comprehensive task of registering voters, cleaning up the present voters' roll and producing a clean voters' list for the countries Electoral Commission in Honiara.
The project is planned to start-up in August 2013 and end in early 2014. There are about 350,000 voters in the country. One important aspect of the project is to provide an exact and real number of registered voters.
ESI was chosen based on its experience, accuracy of its registration software and long standing history of assisting emerging democracies with extremely difficult logistical challenges.
The Solomon Islands BVR project comes on the heels of the highly successful BVR project carried out in the Republic of Fiji, also implemented by ESI.
This will be the fourth BVR project for ESI, successor to the former CODE Inc. ESI is recognized by many of the world's Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and Electoral Commissions as a trusted partner with more than 20 years of experience worldwide.
The agreement between the two organizations was signed on July 3, 2013, by the Honorable Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Manasseh Maelanga for Solomon Islands and Mr. Gordon Sinclair, VP of Business Development, for ESI.
"The BVR project is the next logical phase on the road to upcoming elections, our selection of a trusted and respected international partner such as ESI will assist us in our challenges to properly register voters," said Permanent Secretary Mr. Fred Fakarii of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
"Their knowledge and understanding of delivering under harsh conditions will come in handy as Solomon Islands is composed of just under 1,000 islands and has a land area of 28,400 square kilometers, over a 1,000 km from one end of the country to the other, it is stretched out over more than a million square kilometers of the South Seas," added the Permanent Secretary.
The project's success will come from dedicated voter registration software developed by ESI over the past 10 years.
"Capture of voter's biometric data using highly mobile and rugged hardware under demanding conditions is a key element to ensuring a clean voters' list," Sinclair stated. "However, although collection of data in both urban and rural areas is essential it is not the sole solution to providing an impeccable list. We will celebrate success when we hand over a clean voters' list to a satisfied partner."
The project will help the SIEC centralize data, establish back-up systems, provide voters with instant secure voter ID cards, matching and verification of biometric data using fingerprints and facial recognition while ensuring system management and support for years to come.
Mobile BVR kits will begin to arrive in Honiara, the nation's capital, in late August, early September, 2013. Shortly after an ESI team will arrive to carry out training. The actual voter registration exercise will begin in early October 2013.