August 4, 2005

By Masaleen Sehpin
The Kaselehlie Press

A day and a half workshop was conducted at Sea Breeze conference room on July 25-26, 2005. The workshop was run by Australian Election Commissioners Rod Medew from AEC Canberra, AEC's Director of Research and Ben Murray from AEC Melbourne, AEC International Service Project Officer.

Participants of the workshop include all election commissioners from the four states of the FSM including the National Election Commissioner.

In March of 2001, the Electronic Voter Registration System was introduced to Pohnpei and then implemented in all the FSM in September of 2002. The recent workshop according to Garry Bloom, of the Australian Embassy, was built on the strong foundation of the introduction of the EVR. The system has been operating successful for the past three years with reliable data continually being updated and useful reports being generated.

The two Australian Election Commissioners brought with them the most recent version of the Generic Voter Registration Database software to update the original FSM EVR and within the 1 day workshop, FSM Election Commissioners had the opportunity to expand their personal knowledge and improve their professional skills. The storage of the EVR is important, therefore there is need to have accessible backups. The workshop assists in upgrading the FSM EVR as well as expanding knowledge on the EVR. The workshop also focused on the improvement of EVR Sustainability. Bloom encourages participants to learn as much from the two AECs.

"As election Workers in the FSM, each of you stands strongly as a vanguard of democracy in the Federated States of Micronesia. The important work you perform on a daily basis on your home islands secures and ensures the blessings of liberty, freedom, peace and unity which the Constitution of the FSM and those great States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap are framed upon. In your individual jobs, each of you projects and promotes the voting rights of yourselves, your family, your friends and your fellow islanders," Bloom said.

After the 1 day workshop, the Medew and Murray stayed a few days training local trainers who would be conducting trainings to locals in the future. Medew is confident the local trainers are ready to conduct the trainings in the future.