Editorial comment – Dealing with voters

Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says once the writ of elections is issued no one will be able to amend their voter details or register to vote. However, the FEO has advised that voters who have lost their voters cards could have them replaced at various locations around the country until November 13. Picture: FILE

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has advised people to update their voter details and register to vote before the writ for the 2018 General Election is issued.

Mr Saneem said voters should not leave registration to the last minute.

“This week may very well be the final round of voter registrations for the 2018 General Election. I must point out that once the writ is issued, FEO will cease all voter registrations and updating details for voters,” he said.

It is no secret that many Fijians do leave things to the last minute.

We tend to then rush through to try and make amends as deadlines approach.

Mr Saneem is urging people not to leave it to the last minute “considering the fact that when we don’t know when the writ will be issued, some Fijians may find that they are unable to take advantage of this service if the writ is issued at short notice”.

“We won’t be able to register anyone once the writ is issued or even update their details, therefore those over the ages of 18, you have this weekend and the whole of next week,” he said.

That last statement, on its own, is interesting.

The key issue, obviously from the outset, is for voters to organise themselves and prepare for a process that starts with the writ of election.

We still do not know exactly when the election date is, but speculation is rife, and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it will be held any time before November 22.

It is clear that there is great anticipation and expectation surrounding the event, and keen interest on the start of the process.

Now more than ever, the onus is truly on voters to organise themselves, and be prepared.

That, for some, is going to be a challenge in itself without a set date announced yet, for pre-planning and organisation of commitments.

It is important that we, the voters, understand why we must be part of the process.

It is our opportunity – which we get only once in four years – to decide on who will be our government.

It is in our best interest that we make an informed choice.

Political parties and aspiring candidates have an opportunity to place their vision to lead our nation on a high pedestal.

Disagreement and debate is an important part of the democratic process. It is important that we are open to contrary viewpoints.

The election should be about us as voters being prepared to exercise the right to be a part of the democratic process and being able to make a well-informed decision.

One of our roles as a media organisation is to disseminate information that will aid that process.

Our challenge is to be consistent, relevant and fair.

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