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Day One of pre-polling in Fiji ended with 109 polling venues completed polling as of Monday
According to the Fijian Elections Office the first polling venue to start pre-poll was Nanoko in Keasi, Nadroga, with 340 voters casting their vote.
The FEO’s preliminary report reveals that there was 65 percent voter turn-out in the 109 polling venues that completed polling.
For the Central division, 14 venues completed pre- polling but the Fijian Elections Office only managed to receive information from seven venues due to connectivity issues.
For the Western – 28 venues completed pre-polling and they only received information from 23 venues.
25 venues in the Northern Division completed pre-polling Monday but only 7 venues were able to send information through to FEO.
42 venues completed pre-polling in the Eastern Division with information received from only 5 venues.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem is urging voters in the rural and remote locations to turn up to the pre-polling venues to cast their votes.
“I’d like to encourage all Fijians who live on mainland to please inform their relatives and friends in the remote locations covered under the pre-poll to please go and vote as they will not get a chance to vote if they miss out on the pre-poll”
Saneem is also urging voters to be mindful of day light savings and not be late to the polling venues.
Meanwhile, Saneem has outlined the procedures that needed to be followed in getting registered voters who were either bedridden or disabled to vote in this year’s election.
He made the comments after concerns were raised by Nacamaki Village headman on Koro Island in Lomaiviti that four people were bedridden and could not cast their votes because he claimed the Fijian Elections Office staff on the ground said it was not allowed under the law.
“The presiding officers will consult with the turaga ni koro prior to the commencement of polling if there are any persons in the community within the 300m boundary of the polling place who are not able to come to the polling station by virtue of either being bedridden or confirmation that the person is a disabled person and cannot travel to the polling station, and further confirmation that the person has not applied for a postal vote,” Saneem said.
“If a person has not done so and is within the 300m of the polling station, the presiding officer may visit the person after the last person at the queue at the polling station has voted; and if the presiding officer still sees time for the presiding officer to take the ballot box, the ballot paper, and all other sensitive materials to this person prior to the closing of polling in accordance with Section 85 of the Electoral Act.
“The presiding officer and the assistant presiding officer together with party agents and observers can take the sufficient number of ballot papers, the voter list, the secret envelope in correct numbers and the ballot box and take it to the respective person’s residence to assist the person to mark the ballot paper, have the ballot paper placed inside the secret envelope, place the person’s finger inside the indelible ink box to mark the finger; and the secret envelope is to be dropped in the ballot box at the presiding officer’s presence inside the residence; and then the presiding officer and his staff can return to the polling station.”
He also clarified that any voter who had not voted before the presiding officer left the polling station but arrived at the polling station prior to the closing time of the polling station would still be entitled to vote.
“The presiding officer will allow that person to vote after which, if time for closing has reached, they will close the voting station.”
In another development, the number of people voting through postal ballot in this year’s election has increased by 400 more.
This was confirmed by Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem who said that after conducting a quality assurance programme, the FEO picked up those applications.
He said the FEO conducted this programme for all its activities in the 2018 General Election.
“Our quality assurance for the voter numbers for postal was carried out and our quality assurance team has picked up roughly 400 applications that were not earlier processed by the postal team,” Saneem said.
“These were found through emails that they basically verified through the postal application form that they directly verify.
“As such, in exercising my powers under Section 7 of the Electoral Act, I’ve authorised that these postal applications are included as valid applications and, therefore, postal applications are to be sent out to these applicants.”
A total of 11,227 people is eligible to vote through postal ballot, 1187 applications of which were from overseas and 10,040 from locals.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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