Editorial comment – Make it count!

Fijian elections office staff packs the ballot boxes to be sent around the country. Picture: FEO

Today 18,836 registered voters in 152 pre-polling venues across Fiji will be casting their ballots on the first day of pre-poll for the 2022 General Election.

It’s part of the process that will culminate with the masses heading to the polls on December 14.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem, at a media conference yesterday, said for the first day of pre-polling, the Central Division has 24 venues, the Eastern Division has 52 venues, Western Division has 42 venues and the Northern Division has 32 venues operational.

There would be 77,907 registered voters who would be voting during the pre-polling period in 613 pre-polling venues that included venues for police officers, military as well as various remote areas in Fiji.

“This time around in this election for every pre-poll venue, we’ve made a pre-poll road sign,” Mr Saneem said.

For those with access to the internet and social media, he said: “On our Facebook page we have put up pictures of the road signs erected at the pre-poll venues and on the sign there is a small column where we have actually put the date and the time for people voting in those areas.”

Arrangements, he said, had been made with managements and administrators of schools to ensure there were no disruption of classes.

Information on the venues and numbers of pre polling voters could be accessed on the Fijian Elections Office website.

Today starts what will be the final stretch for political parties as we head down to the big day on Wednesday next week.

There will be intense campaigning. Parties and their leaders will be focused on any bit of undecided voter.

They will hope to convince them this week to make that important vote count.

There will naturally be differences in the way we do things, right up to the values we espouse.

The elections process is a special event that allows you the voter to express yourself albeit in a process that is designed to ensure you alone know the number you have endorsed on the ballot paper.

Again, history will tell us many stories. It will tell us about coups in 1987, 2000 and in 2006.

It will remind us about ethnicity and religion, and about issues that are dear to our hearts.

There will also be many positive stories. It will tell us about developments we have made as a nation.

It will touch on positive gains for the people, their losses, their fears, and their hopes and aspirations.

We will also be reminded about events that have changed our lives such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of that major event on our lives, and on bread and butter issues.

We have a fair idea of how many voters are thinking, and some of the pressing issues they face.

Just like in 2014 and in 2018, we expect there would be undecided voters out there and that is to be expected.

There would also be attention focused on the young voters this year, just as it was in 2018. You the voter are the focus of attention, because you will decide the future of our nation. You carry the power to decide who gets to form our government.

You have an opportunity to choose the leaders who will move our nation forward! But you must make an effort to make that vote count!

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