Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Mr Mukesh Nand
Signing Agreement with the Australian High Commission for Funding of Audit of National Register of Voters
His Excellency Mr John Feakes, the Australian High Commissioner;
Representatives from the Australian High Commission and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and;
Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem
Bula Vinaka and warm greeting from the Electoral Commission[EC].
Today we are gathered here for a very important event that will see the continuation of the partnership and bond shared between the Australian Government and the Electoral Commission.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the assistance worth $165,000AUD signed today between the EC and the Australian High Commission will help in the funding of the Audit of the National Register of Voters.
The National Register of Voters is an essential element for the FEO in preparations towards an election and the FEO is responsible for the registration and maintenance of the Register.
The Electoral Commission (EC) is constituted as an independent, non-partisan authority that has responsibility for the registration of voters and the conduct of free and fair elections in accordance with written laws governing elections in Fiji. The EC has many roles and one of them is the overall custodian of the Voter Register.
The EC had wished to implement a significant recommendation by the Multinational Observer Group for the 2018 General Election which recommended that the National Register of Voters in Fiji should be audited by an Independent Auditor.
As part of its responsibilities, the EC requires that the Nation Register of Voters is to be audited using internationally accepted standards by an independent agency in the area of elections.
In October last year, the EC had reached out to the Australian Government and sought assistance to enable the EC to carry out this significant process ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s signing is a testament to the cordial and mutual relationship we have with the Australian Government and I am confident that as the EC Chairperson, this relationship will only continue to grow in years to come.
The $165,000AUD provided today will facilitate the audit process and allow the EC to make determination on the manner in which the FEO is maintaining the Register and where necessary provide relevant direction to the FEO to improve the ways in which the Register is kept.
At this juncture, I would also like to shed some light on the scope of work that will be undertaken during the Audit of the Voter Register.
The primary scope of work will take place at the FEO and will include the Audit of the Procedures that will evaluate and assess the registration process and the flow of information from data collection to the creation of access points for voters- all the way to the registration of voters and the issuance of the Blue VoterCard.
Another area of focus is the Audit of the IT Systems as well as the Statistical Testing that will assess the quality of the voter register and voters list through the “list to voters” and/or the “people to list” method.
In addition to the above, appropriate recommendations for enhancing the accuracy and inclusiveness of the Voters Register will be provided.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know, this year is an important year for the EC and the FEO as we gear up for the 2022 General Election. Support and assistance like this will go in a long way in enabling the EC and FEO to better prepare for the national exercise.
We are very grateful for the support the Australian Government has provided to the Elections in Fiji in the past and we continue to appreciate the level of engagement the Australian Electoral Commission has with the FEO in the furtherance of credible Elections in Fiji and also the Pacific.