The Office of the Electoral Commissioner (OEC) was established as a distinct organisation in 2005 following passage of The Electoral Amendment Act 2005. Prior to that the administration of the Electoral Act was split between the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (until 2003 called the Justice Department) and the Legislative Department.
Since the inception of what used to be called the Electoral Office set up under the Electoral Act 1963, the function of ‘Returning Services’ had always remained under the administration of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. The ‘Registration Services’ function, on the other hand, was administered by the Justice Department until 1990, when universal suffrage supplanted the Matai suffrage as a result of a Plebiscite (national referendum) conducted that year. From 1990 ‘Registration Services’ moved under the charge of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly; and in 2000 it went back to the Justice Department.
The OEC in its administrative role has a responsibility to the community to ensure that a qualified electors and voters are registered and aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Act.
The Office of the Electoral Commissioner is funded through the Annual Budget Estimates.
The responsible Minister is the Minister of Justice. The relationship between the OEC and the Minister of Justice is governed under the Electoral Act 1963 and the 2005 Amendment.
The Commissioner, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Office, is appointed under the terms of Section 3 of the Electoral Amendment Act 2005. The senior management staff group at present consists of:
The Office of the Electoral Commissioner are classified into five areas:
- Legal & Policy,
- Corporate Services,
- Information Technology