As the voting beings for the second round of the presidential election, the Elections Commission of the Maldives (EC) has introduced changes to voter identification and ramped up the number of officials and observers overseeing the electoral process.

In the runoff, voters who have exercised their voting right will be identified by a mark on their left-hand ring finger, in contrast to the first round where voters were marked on the left index finger. 

This change complies with the Elections General Act, which mandates a different finger to be marked for elections held in quick succession. Durable markers will be used to facilitate the identification process.

A total of 12,083 observers, monitors, and candidate representatives will be active in the second round — an increase of 3,012 compared to the first round. EC has also announced that 5,429 election officials will be active, marking an increase from 4,968 in the first round. 

All have been deployed to their designated islands, and refresher training courses have been conducted to address issues identified during the first round, such as queue management and ballot verification.

In response to challenges faced due to space constraints in the first round, the EC has changed the locations of some polling stations. The commission has invested effort in ensuring that these new locations are better suited to manage the increased turnout expected for the runoff.

A total of 282,804 individuals are eligible to vote in today’s election, including 409 newly registered voters. The EC has printed 285,631 ballot papers, a modest increase from the 285,219 in the first round, meeting regulations that require each ballot box to receive a surplus of papers exceeding the actual number of voters by 1%.