Editorial

It’s Reassuring To Hear Supervisor Of Elections Say No One Will Be Disfranchised In This Election

The key point is that eligible voters must be registered. When it’s in the digital registry it will stay there and won’t disappear. So, if your name is there you can vote, with or without a card.
09 Sep 2022 15:00
It’s Reassuring To Hear Supervisor Of Elections Say No One Will Be Disfranchised In This Election
Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

Amid the debate about registration of voters pertaining to this General Election, Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem yesterday gave the most significant statement yet on the subject.

He told journalists and media organisations that no one would be disfranchised.

It means that, if you are registered and for some reason you have not updated your registration from the green voter card to the blue voter card, you can still vote.

 

Polling booth officials will not turn you away if you have no blue or green voter card, as long as you are registered in the master roll.

To play safe, take some form of identification card with you, like a passport, driver’s licence, birth certificate, etc just in case they may be needed for verification.

The key point is that eligible voters must be registered. When it’s in the digital registry it will stay there and won’t disappear. So, if your name is there you can vote, with or without a card.

 

The extra benefit of holding a blue card is that it will be recognised and accepted by banks and other organisations when you conduct business and personal transactions.

Six weeks ago, the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) revealed that 123,000 registered eligible voters had not updated their green cards to the blue cards. Mr Saneem said yesterday he did not have the latest figures.

They could very well have come down. He said they had done everything they could to create public awareness.

 

He did not know what else they could do to get people to update their voter cards. But now that he has clarified the situation, it would not matter much now whether registered eligible voters have a blue card or not.

The only advantage for holders is that they could use the blue card outside of the election too.

Yesterday’s session with the media was a positive move and beneficial to journalists and media houses in their reporting of the election.

 

Digital technology will play a pivotal role in the dissemination of information from the FEO to the rest of the world. It will enhance the work of the media houses and others interested in the election process and outcome.

Mr Saneem has come under a lot of fire from Opposition politicians in recent weeks. He is like other civil servants.

His role is to implement the policies of the Government. Based on his briefing yesterday he appears to be heading in the right direction to minimise any potential hiccups.

 

The progress of their preparation he unveiled indicates that this will be a more efficient election compared to the previous two – in 2014 and 2018.

The FEO has obviously learned from their past experience and incorporated the needed changes for this election.

He assured that they had checks and balance to make sure the integrity of the poll was not compromised, in response to a question about suspected vote rigging.

 

Having said all these, however, the basic responsibility to register and vote lies with the eligible voters.

They cannot blame Mr Saneem if they can’t vote because their names are missing from the master roll.

If there are cases due to system malfunction that can be easily rectified. The FEO needs to be alerted early.

That’s why it pays for eligible voters to check and ensure they are registered. For those who have not registered at all there is still time to register.

 

Registration is still open as the Writ of Election has not been issued.

It is expected to be issued after the last Parliament session next month. On the day the writ is issued, the FEO and Electoral Commission will announce the date when voter registrations close.

The onus is therefore on the eligible voters to ensure they are registered, and vote come polling day.

 

Feedback: delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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