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You can vote

Shalveen Chand
Friday, September 05, 2014

THE Electoral Commission has allowed the Fijian Elections Office to carry out pre-poll in areas where people have missed out on voting on the first day.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem confirmed this saying over the first two days, the Fijian Elections Office had noted lessons learnt and implemented appropriate actions.

He said, in areas where the Elections Office carried fewer materials than required, "the Elections Office has got permission from the Electoral Commission to do pre-polling in those areas again".

"There were certain matters that were highlighted from yesterday's (Wednesday) pre-poll, we have taken note of that and today, we have not received any reports of that nature."

While people are now gripping the idea of pre-poll, people in some areas were still confused about the concept of pre-poll where they physically vote, and many said they thought they would only vote on September 17.

Mr Saneem was asked if the awareness programs the Elections Office carried out had been successful.

"The awareness created has resulted in a lot of people coming out to vote.

"The whole exercise is continuing and awareness is being conducted. We have changed strategies, we have changed radio advertisements in a manner so that the message is able to reach to the people.

"I have highlighted this that we are working on the lessons that we have learnt, we have come back to ensure that there is sufficient number of ballot papers and other pre-polling equipment in each box.

"We have organised for spare materials to be delivered to areas where pre-polling is taking place."

Mr Saneem said 591,000 people are on the system and it is the voter's responsibility to check where they have been assigned to vote.

He said people who may have registered in Suva and going back to vote in the village with pre-poll happening in the village, unless they had changed their venue will not be able to vote in the village.

Mr Saneem said the Elections Office, the government, the media and the voters themselves had the responsibility to ensure the election process happens safely.

Voters turning up in certain polling stations visited by this newspaper - particularly in Vanua Levu, the Western Division, and the Central Eastern Division said they were unaware of the pre-polling dates.

Meanwhile, Mr Saneem said day two of pre-poll voting was hailed to be much better than the first day.

"In total, there were 79 polling stations that operated and we expect 8010 voters to vote today (yesterday).

"This is going to continue until late today (yesterday). As for yesterday (Wednesday), we had a good turn out. People came in numbers and although all the results are not with us, but we can report that numbers have been in the high 70s to 90 per cent plus."

"It's looking good in terms of number of people and the number of enquiries we have received about pre-poll so it's very positive. Tomorrow (today), we will have 70 pre-polling stations operating and we will give you the figures tomorrow (today).

"We had a little bit of issue with the tide in the Eastern area, this was quite predictable. Polling was delayed in one area by one hour, we couldn't reach there because of the tide. People in that area were well-informed and they were still there waiting for us."

Mr Saneem said it was a good thing that little hiccups were felt which allowed the Elections Office to learn and be ready for September 17.





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