Statement by the Deputy Supervisor of Elections

Ms Karyl Winter
Indelible Ink Handover
FEO Warehouse – 10 May, 2018

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to this handover ceremony this morning ladies and gentlemen.

As you all know that the General Election will be held later this year and we at the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] are doing everything we can to ensure that our preparations are up to par.

Ladiesand gentlemen, this handover ceremony ispart of our readiness and we are very thankful to the Indian Government and the Indian High Commission for their assistance in providing us with indelible ink.

Indelible ink also known as electoral ink, phosphoric ink is a semi-permanent ink that is applied to the index finger or little finger on the left hand of voters during elections in a bid to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting.

Indelible ink is made of a chemical compound called silver nitrate. When applied to the skin and exposed to ultraviolet light, it leaves a mark that is almost impossible to wash off.

Our Polling Day Workers check the fingers of voters before they walk into the Polling Station on Election Day and if they are found to have their fingers marked already, they would be requested to leave as it would mean they have already voted.

Ladies and gentlemen, those voters whose fingers do not have any marks on their fingers are allowed to enter the polling station where their ID and details will be checked and they will be issued with a ballot paper.

They will proceed to a cardboard voting screen where they will mark their ballot paper and then move on to the next station where the inking official will mark the index finger or little finger of the voter by dipping it in the ink bottle.

After that, the voter will drop his/her marked ballot paper in the ballot box and exit the polling station.

That is basically a run through of a polling station and how the indelible ink will be used on the day of election.

Ladies and gentlemen those voters who cast their ballot through pre-poll will also have their fingers marked after they have placed their marked ballot paper inside the secret envelope.

Having such measures as the indelible ink to ensure there is no double voting is essential as it puts faith in the system we have that there will be no room for rigging or manipulation of the system.

 

The mark on the voters finger is a matter of pride for the voter as a voter discharged his/her responsibility to the nation and to themselves for the next four years.

Every voter should carry the indelible ink marked finger with national pride as it is a sign of loyalty and patriotism.

Ladies and gentlemen, an election is not only about politicians and political parties campaigning against each other to form a government but it is more about instilling national pride and ownership every person who marks a vote on Election Day demonstrates their love affection and ownership to a country in which they live in.

Indelible Ink used in the Fijian electoral process acts as a confirmation of a vote but on the flip side allows the FEO and the political parties to verify and ensure that a person only votes once in our election.

This is critical considering every polling place caters for a maximum of 500 voters.

As highlighted in previous observer reports, we would like to ensure that there is no double voting or turn out in excess of registered voters at a polling venue.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fijian elections stands at a point where there is very high levels of reconciliation and accountability at both polling station level and national level and this gives voters the added security and confidence in the electoral system.

The FEO has benefitted widely from trainings and capacity building programs as well as invites to various international forums conducted in India and the assistance through provision of Indelible Ink, for which India is renowned for, is highly appreciated.

With those few words ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your attendance here today.

Vinaka Vakalevu.