Dear Editor

In Wednesday’s Daily Post, the front page headline stated “177,433 CASTING VOTES TODAY.”

Clearly there is something seriously wrong if this headline means that there are 177, 433 registered voters in the four provinces that voted.

According to online population trackers, Vanuatu’s total population today is about 313,464 (which of course changes daily). About 138,346 of these people are under the age of 18. This means the total number of those over 18 eligible to vote across the entire country is about 175,118 (including those registered in the urban areas of Port Vila and Luganville) – assuming every single person is registered. But Torba and Sanma were not voting.

If your headline is accurate, how then is it possible that 177,433 people (2,000 more than the country’s total population over 18) were eligible to vote in only four of the six provinces? It would be interesting to know how many registered voters there are in Torba and Sanma, which would show just how seriously distorted the country’s voter roll actually must be.

It would seem that a comprehensive overhaul of the voter’s roll is long overdue, and urgently needed — notwithstanding the many practical challenges of doing this.

Douglas Patterson

Editor’s Note:

These were official figures given by the Electoral Office. The same question was asked in a briefing about Vanuatu’s population being around 300,000. The Principal Electoral Officer says their list was verified with the Civil Status Office, which may mean Vanuatu’s real population is around 400,000. The data on the national census conducted in 2020 will be released in June this year, after the country’s 5th national census by the National Statistics Office in November 2009. The Electoral Office has done much work to “clean” the roll. But we agree that a comprehensive overhaul of the voter’s roll is long overdue.

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