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Mock Polling Session Shows Counting Process

Mock Polling Session Shows Counting Process
The presiding officers demonstrating the poll count to the Polling Agent on September 3, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua
September 04
12:55 2018

Representatives from political parties were present at the Fijian Elections Office yesterday for a mock polling session to demonstrate the counting pro­cess.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said counting for the 2018 General Election would take place immediately af­ter the close of polling on election day.

“It has to be transparent and consistent across the election throughout the country and done at locations where it is accessible to party agents to attend and observe the count,” Mr Saneem said.

He said party agents were allowed to ob­serve the counting process and stand next to the counting tables, but are required to ensure they do not interfere in the process.

“Counting must not be stopped while it has started unless there is a genuine rea­son. In most cases counting will be stopped if the presiding officer is of the view that it cannot be reconciled in the presence of excess ballot papers in the ballot box, in which case the ballot box is transported to headquarters for investigations.

“Party agents can object to the admission or rejection of a ballot paper during the count, however the decision of the presid­ing officer and objection is final at the poll­ing station level,” Mr Saneem said.

“If the party still has disagreements they will have to make a complaint or appeal to the supervisor that will be dealt with while the box is received in Suva, after two days.”

Mr Saneem stressed that it was the respon­sibility of parties that their agents were in­side polling stations before the start of the count at 6pm.

“If they are not there at or before 6pm and the presiding officer has closed polling the presiding officer might not let any other persons into the polling stations,” he said.

“There must not be any interruptions to the counting.”

Mr Saneem said counting would proceed according to the presiding officer’s time at exactly 6pm on election night.

“We will not be able to adjudicate the time differences if somebody has moved their clock back or forward. We will work with the presiding officer’s decision on what is 6pm,” the Supervisor of Elections said.

At the conclusion of the count presiding officers will publish the pink slip for the re­spective station outside the station.

Party agents can then take photographs of the slip or record the results, however in their absence presiding officers can use the Police officer as a witness or any voter that is available or any staff of the FEO.

Results will be transmitted to the Results Centre immediately after count.

“After the completion of count the presid­ing officer will transmit results to the Re­sults Centre firstly by telephone so we can record the results that night,” Mr Saneem said.

“And thereafter the presiding officer is to sign the protocol of results, paste the pink slip on the wall and thereafter put it in an envelope and send the results physically to be entered into the Results Management System in Suva as the final result.”

As per Section 102 of the Electoral Act, FEO is required to release the national re­sults tallies, which are the provisional re­sults in total for candidates and for parties respectively.

Any political party that wishes to verify the counting results should work according to the final results from the Results Centre, which will determine the actual outcome of the election.

“We will give them a photocopy of the pro­tocol of result, which is the original and the Result System will automatically print out the results that is recorded,” Mr Saneem said.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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