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‘The Right To Vote Is A Sacred Thing’

‘The Right To Vote Is A Sacred Thing’
August 11
10:00 2018
  •  Tupou Draunidalo is president of HOPE. She was a former Opposition Member of Parliament for the National Federation Party in the current Parliament. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Tupou Draunidalo and not of the Fiji Sun.

There has been much discussion about the splitting of votes in the upcoming elections.

That assumes that votes already belong to one, two or three parties.

The basic thing about free and fair elections is that all voters are free to choose who they wish to right up to the time they reach the polling booth to cast their vote.

Up until that time, their vote is their business and their right. They even have the right to not vote as we no longer have compulsory voting.

The right to vote is a sacred thing and for the established parties to confidently say that votes belong to them before the vote is cast- is rather arrogant and undemocratic.

It assumes that the voter has no free will or no clear mind. Or that the voter is unable to change his or her mind at the booth. Or that the voter is not thinking at all.

This is all especially so, that when taken together, the polls (Tebutt/The Fiji Times and Razor/Fiji Sun) show a large number of undecided voters.

Between 35-42 per cent has been shown to be the undecided figure. That is from Tebutt, which at the same time showed similar numbers for the established parties as Razor for the decided voters.

That 42 per cent is the largest part of the polled numbers. With 58 per cent clearly marking a preference and the government clearly ahead in that 58 per cent field.

We must remember that even where the polled have indicated a preference before the polls, they can still change their mind at the booth.

Unless some parties and commentators can say for sure that those voters will not change their minds or that those voters are not capable of changing their minds.

The world over has been shocked by some recent voting trends especially when the polls have said something else.

Brexit and Hillary Clinton. We need not say more.

But for the sake of necessary repetition for some in the way back rows of political evolution- take nothing for granted.

And do not disrespect the electorate. They always know better. They see things more clearly than we the combatants and support teams do. They see things we don’t. Or things that we don’t want to see.

It would be best if all parties and their support crews respected the rights and free will of voters to choose anyone they like after considering all of the options- right up to when they are at the booth.

The combination of the two local polls are saying that the electorate needs convincing.

Perhaps they are disillusioned or angry.

Convincing them to turn up to vote and vote for us is the challenge that is now before the eight registered parties.

Happy campaigning to all.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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