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Shortage halts voting

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, September 04, 2014

A SHORTAGE of envelopes for ballot papers meant 22 villagers from Yasawa Village in Cakaudrove were unable to cast their votes in pre-polling yesterday.

And the 22 villagers are calling on the Fijian Elections Office to organise another polling day to allow them to cast their votes.

Yasawa Village headman Isei Marawa confirmed that in the first hour from 8am, out of the 77 registered in the area, only 19 voters were able to cast their votes before officials realised the shortage.

He added when this happened, polling was put on hold for an hour to allow officials to organise an alternative.

Mr Marawa said affected voters hired boats to the polling station paying $100 or more for the trip and some left their villages (from the tip of Udu) in the early hours to cast their votes.

After arrangements were made with the election officials at headquarters, another 36 were taken in to vote.

But the remaining 22 are yet to receive confirmation on whether they can still vote.

Mr Marawa said it wasn't fair for the villagers especially those travelling from afar.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said they hadn't received any reports on the lack of ballot papers.

"Ballot papers are packed according to the number of people registered to vote," Mr Saneem said.

"In all the cases there will be excess of ballot papers.

"Our intention is that if someone wanted to come back and ask for the second ballot paper because they made a mistake, we are able to give a second ballot paper."

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