8 Nov 2004

USP team isolate changes needed to improve Cook Islands electoral process

8:37 pm on 8 November 2004

A University of the South Pacific team is recommending changes to improve the electoral process in the Cook Islands.

The Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance at the USP had observers in the Cooks during the elections in early September.

Professor of Governance, Dr Graham Hassall, says they went to try and understand the developmental needs of the electoral system.

He says the poll ran very smoothly but they would still suggest change, such as a full time electoral commissioner, more training for staff, and computerised vote counting.

And Professor Hassall says the Electoral Act does not allow enough time for the thorough preparation of the rolls.

"this is a very important matter in a small electorate the size of the Cook Islands because every vote counts. And if you don't have adequate time for those rolls to be prepared or to be scrutinised before the count, it can lead to problems after the count, if there are disputes. So the timing that is available to administrators to fix up the rolls is another quite important aspect of electoral administration"