Fiji Pol: Birth certificate name check tool eases blue card upgrade process

Voters who need to upgrade their voter cards to blue, but do not have their birth certificates on hand can do so still at any voter registration booth provided they submit correct details to officers serving them at these venues, the Fijian Elections Office says.

The process has been made easy, thanks to a Birth Certificate Name Check Tool (BCNCT) the FEO introduced today, a view-only tool, that allows for verification of voters’ details against that kept with the Births, Deaths, and Marriages (BDM) Registry.

Voters, however, will need to provide the exact name and spelling of the name along with their date of birth to locate them on the BDM data, Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says.

“If you provide us with spellings that are different, it will not locate you on the BDM data. That would mean you will have to provide your Birth Certificate.”

Via the BCNCT, the FEO is able to access data from the BDM enabling their staff to carry out direct name verification of individuals in the field in case they do not have birth certificates.

“This facility will greatly enhance the FEO’s capacity to conduct registration of voters and upgrading of VoterCards particularly in rural and maritime zones considering there is limited access to BDM services on a regular basis. These areas may also have connectivity issues as well,” Saneem said.

Voters however are encouraged still to bring their original or certified true copy of their BC, particularly for the process of change of names where BCs is one of the must-have documents.

“The FEO will continue to facilitate the change of name just as we have done till now.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Justice to facilitate the most convenient mechanism in assisting the general public to upgrade to the Blue VoterCard. This collaboration will create greater convenience for voters who may have lost their Birth Certificates and were hoping to upgrade to the Blue VoterCard.”

Voters are also advised that the new tool does not support printing of BCs which can only be done via the BDM or approved BDM outlets such as any of the post offices countrywide.

Meanwhile between 4 October 2021 and 1 February 2022, the FEO has served 134,035 voters, comprising of 64,550 males and 69,485 females. During this time, the FEO has facilitated 223 name change applications. 51- males, 172- females.

In this regard, the FEO notes that 21,165 of the females who did not have names that matched with BDM records previously have already upgraded to the Blue VoterCard and their names are now verifiable against BDM data.

At this stage, the FEO has calculated that a little over 61% of registered voters currently hold a Blue VoterCard.

The FEO hopes that by the end of the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive they will surpass their target of 75% of registered voters with Blue-colored VoterCard.

The nationwide voter registration drive starts Saturday 26 February through Saturday 2 April.

“I just wanted to remind every Fijian that we will be doing a comprehensive voter registration bonanza in towns and cities around Fiji taking place on 26-27 February 2022.

“The FEO teams will be present in all urban hotspots across all towns and cities in Fiji to allow every eligible voter to register and upgrade to the Blue VoterCard and since the Birth Certificate requirement has been relaxed and the chances of more Fijians coming up to upgrade to the new VoterCard, considering 2022 is an election year, has increased.”

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