In order to be eligible to vote, a person must be a citizen of Maldives and at least 18 years of age. Additionally, persons who have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to prison for a period of more than five years and serving that sentence are barred from voting.
The Elections Commission is mandated to maintain and update the Register. The Register is formed using data from the National ID system, hospital birth records, death records, and the family household registry, which lists the members of a family on an island. Once a Maldivian reaches the age of 18, they are to be automatically added to the Register. Consequently, instead of a manual registration period where eligible voters physically register themselves, there are register verification periods. There is a time frame provided by the Elections Commission for citizens to verify their data on the list, and submit amendments or complaints. Then, a re-registration period was held, during which the Elections Commission published a provisional list and voters could change the location in which they would vote. The re-registration period was provided to enable those working and living outside of their permanent place of residence to change where they would actually be voting.
The Elections Commission also established an SMS service for voters, whereby they could text their National ID number and receive an automated response confirming the voter’s name on the Register and their polling station location.
In 2013, The Elections Commission stated that 65,745 persons (or 27 per cent of eligible voters) had re-registered their places of voting for the 7 September election. In addition to eligible Maldivian citizens within the country, eligible citizens living overseas could also register to vote. According to the Presidential Election Regulation, diplomatic missions in locations with a minimum of 100 registered persons had to make provisions for those citizens to vote. As a result, voting took place in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The total number of registered voters in this category was 5,608. The final Register contained a total of 239,593 eligible voters, with a disaggregation by gender of 123,175 males and 116,418 females.
The Commonwealth, Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group: Maldives Presidential Election 7 September 2013 and Re-Run of Maldives Presidential Election 9 November 2013 and Maldives Presidential Run-Off Election 16 November 2013, Commonwealth Observer Group, 2013, http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/press-release/documents/Maldives%20Presidential%20Election%202013%20Commonwealth%20Observer%20Group%20Report.pdf.