16 September, 2014, 12:00 am
MORE than 49,500 Fijians cast their votes during pre-polling which started on September 3 and ended yesterday. And this represented a total voter turnout of about 77 per cent of the 65,000 registered voters who were entitled to vote during the pre-poll period.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem confirmed yesterday that numbers were expected to increase once they received the last confirmed figures from the Eastern Division.
“This represents a voter turnout of 77 per cent, a number considerably higher than the global average in countries where voting is voluntary and not mandatory like it is in Australia,” Mr Saneem said.
He revealed that by comparison, the voter turnout for the presidential election in the US in 2012 was only 69 per cent.
“I believe this high voter turnout in Fiji reflects the excitement and enthusiasm to participate in this historic election.
“Our teams on the ground have reported to us the overall sense of pride amongst those who voted and the joy that they have had in their say in the future of their country.”
Mr Saneem said people have picked up on election excitement from media coverage and are eager to cast their ballots tomorrow.
“We acknowledge that there were a number of learning moments for the Fijian Elections Office during the pre-poll process particularly surrounding voter awareness for pre-polling and registration details.
“However, we learn from these moments and are able to adopt quickly to address issues as they arise.”
He said elections are a national effort and the more each person contributes, the better the outcome will be.
Mr Saneem also said while the deadline for postal ballot was on September 17 at 6.00pm, those voting should contact DHL offices in order to check for the status of their postal ballot packages.
“If you haven’t received your postal vote, contact DHL – we have only until two more days for these envelopes to be returned to us.
“The Fijian Elections Office would also like to inform postal voters that we will receive postal ballots at any of our offices throughout Fiji.
“So if you are in Labasa, you can give it to our Seaqaqa office, Nabouwalu office or give it to our office in Labasa.
“Similarly our office in Lautoka will be able to receive your postal ballot as well.”
Mr Saneem said those delivering their postal ballots to the election office must ensure the officials write the time of delivery as any envelopes received after 6.00pm on September 17will be invalid.