Missing name frustrates voter

Villagers queue up to cast their votes at Burelevu village in Ra Picture BALJEET SINGH

TWENTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Tavite Burelevu ditched his usual early morning trip to the farm yesterday to go to cast his vote as a first-time voter in this year’s election.

However, his excitement turned into despair when he reached the pre-polling venue at Nacamaki Village on Koro only to find his name missing from the voter list.

In a phone interview from their Nacamaki home yesterday, Mr Burelevu said he was looking forward to cast his first vote, but was disappointed when he was told that he could not vote because his name was missing.

“When I came down and didn’t find my name there, I was so angry,” Mr Burelevu said.

“I was really looking forward to vote in this election because it would be my first time.

“I wanted to go and vote too because I want my vote to count especially for the party I was wanting to vote for.”

His father Selesitino Naqarase, who is also the village headman at Nacamaki, claims his son was among three others who could not vote because their names were missing from the voter list for Nacamaki. “I really felt sorry for my son and the others,” Mr Naqarase said.

“My son was so hurt that when he came back home, he just cut up his voter identification card into pieces.”

He claimed that when the FEO visited his village last month, his son’s name was on the updated pre-polling voter list for Nacamaki.

“I had approved it the last time when they (FEO) came and their names were on the list,” he claimed.

“For those who I said their names should be deleted from the list because they had died, it was done, but when they came yesterday they came with the same list that included those people who had died.

“These people gave me headache.”

Mr Naqarase also claimed that four other people who were sick and bedridden were not able to vote because they could not make it to the pre-polling venue.

“I went and asked the FEO staff and they told me that in the new law, it was not allowed,” he claimed.

“They are sick and cannot go to the polling station.”

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the FEO had received confirmation from their staff on the ground that the village headman had not advised the presiding officer of how far the person lived and as to how many people were eligible under these circumstances.

“I can confirm that turaga ni koro have been consulted prior to the voter list being finalised and the information on the voter list is directly from the turaga ni koro,” Mr Saneem said.

“We have checked the names of the voters that were there at the last verification and display exercise and after display we don’t change the voter list.

“Any voter who has moved into an area after the writ has been issued, their only option to vote is postal so if these voters had moved into the area after the writ is issued and have not updated their voter details which they can’t, their option was to only vote through postal so definitely their names will not be on the voter list.

“It was very unfortunate that he chose the media,” he said.

Mr Saneem also said the FEO had a call centre that could be contacted on 1500. “Any person who has complaints about any issues including the one highlighted are encouraged to call FEO on that number.

“We will not be able to assist you after your election is completed. We will not open any box that is now sealed.”

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