Media Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

FEO Conference Room

26 July, 2017

2:00pm

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO), has concluded the 2017 Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. The Drive which we had started on 22 May for 6 weeks was further extended by 1 week to cater for the high interest towards the end of the program.

 

The Nationwide drive included the following key electoral events:

  • Secondary School Voter registration and awareness
  • National Register of Voters print out verification and display
  • Verification of deceased voters
  • 2017 Polling Venue Assessment
  • General Voter services

The Fijian Elections Office placed teams around the country including the islands to ensure that the above electoral programs were adequately carried out.

As Supervisor of Elections, I would like to thank all our media partners who helped push out the message. A special thanks to all the business houses and schools that accommodated our teams.

I would like to take this special opportunity to thank all Fijians who took the opportunity to come in and access the voter services that we were offering. This is very very important considering the election is to be held in 2018.

The Voter Registration, ladies, and gentlemen is an apolitical exercise. Voter registration services were provided by the FEO upon request and this will be done as we have been doing since 2012.

We expanded our services during the Nationwide drive to persons who needed special assistance for registration. We organized our teams in all the divisions to visit those persons who made requests for our services.

At the end of the Nationwide drive, the Fijian Elections Office had recorded over 240,000 engagements with voters. We decided to suspend voter services for 2 weeks so that we could properly integrate the data that we had collected in the field into our central databases. We also had to take this time to update all our registration kits with the updated approved data. This process is now complete.

The following are the new statistics after the data verification exercise:

Data March 2017 25 July 2017
Male 307,526 313,453
Female 298,471 303,137
Total Registered 605,997 616,590

The total number of new registration was: 12, 436.

So far this year the FEO has confirmed and removed 9,156 persons from the Register as deceased.

By Division, the Central Division has the highest number of voters at 258, 849. The Western Division comes second with 230, 058, the Northern Division has 94, 577 and the Eastern Division has 26, 836.

And we also conducted 32 home visits in the Central Division, 20 in the Western and 12 in the Northern Division.

As you are all aware the FEO also conducts registration of voters overseas. We would like to acknowledge our High Commissions and Embassies who have facilitated this processes for us and I would like to reiterate that the major registration drive for overseas voters is going to take place during the Fiji Day celebrations this year.

We have already concluded the registration drive in the Pacific Island countries with the exception of Nauru, the Marshall Islands, and Hawaii.

The total number of registered voters in the overseas category is 6270, hence the total of 616, 590.

Ladies and gentlemen, the information we have provided you will be relied upon in making preparations for the next general election. This information is publicly available from our website www.feo.org.fj and in the interests of transparency the statistics will be published in the newspapers tomorrow.

Before I conclude, I would like to raise another very pertinent matter. The FEO always endeavors to publish accurate electoral information that has always been thoroughly verified. We would like to encourage all political parties, stakeholders and voters to ensure that information that they publish or rely on has been correctly stated and obtained from authenticated sources.

Our attention has been brought to a social media issue where a person who claims to be ‘chief volunteer in a Political Party’ has compiled and published a concocted table of registered voters in Fiji. Our Communications Team reports that this misinformation has been widely circulated on social media casting aspersions on the registration process.

Whilst we will deal with this mischief and its maker through appropriate processes, our message to all voters is to verify electoral information especially the source.

Such information which is not from an authentic source and not from the FEO must be disregarded as these are always bound to have errors. I would like to remind the particular person that it is very very discouraging that he has taken such an initiative to create uncertainty and confusion.

Moving towards the 2018 General Election, it is the responsibility of every political party as well as every voter to ensure that election information is always provided and supplied with utmost integrity and correctness.

It is very very important that one must not mislead a voter. Where possible, try and get the correct information and details such as your information about the National Register of Voters which must always be referred to from the FEO as we maintain the register.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all my staff, both long term and short term, who participated in this exercise and worked with a high level of commitment and integrity to ensure that these services were provided to all Fijians.

Vinaka.

Please find a video link for the statement: https://www.facebook.com/FijiVotes2018/videos/1729517654015149/

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

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