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Clancy outlines responsibilities

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

POLLING officers and presiding officers should be able to assist illiterate voters on election day.

At an open forum discussion on Monday evening by the Electoral Commission, hosted for the benefit of the public, issues were raised and discussed.

Concerned voter Michelle Reddy asked the commission what steps had been taken to address the issue of illiterate voters and voters who are only capable of identifying candidates through photographs.

Deputy Supervisor of the Elections Michael Clancy said as long as the voter's intentions were clear, presiding officers could assist them and would be allowed to clearly point out which photograph the voter wanted to vote for and the presiding officer would be able to assist them.

Mr Clancy said the Elections Office had been receiving assistance from other organisations to conduct voter awareness programs in order to help Fijians understand the election process better.

"On the voters instructions booklet there will be photos and if a person wishes to be assisted and may very clearly point out a photo of the person that they wish to vote for, well as long as the voter is intentionally clear, polling staff can assist them that way," Mr Clancy said.

"There will also be radio campaigns and we also have been going through other organisations to assist us with voter's education so we are open to any other suggestion that people may have if we are missing a section of the community, we will be very happy to hear your comments and work with you."

He added a voter would not be rushed into casting a vote and there was no time limitation for the voter in a voting booth.

"The polling place opens at 7.30am and closes at 6.30pm. If someone wants to take quite a bit of time to consider their vote, they won't be rushed through, but if somebody is taking a bit of time maybe they need assistance and that will be up to the presiding officer to ascertain if that person needs assistance," Mr Clancy said.





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