Election Preparation Update

by Electoral Commission

Statement by Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mr Mukesh Nand

Election Preparation Update

Date: 19/09/2022

 

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, 

Representatives of the international community,  

Ladies and gentlemen, Bula Vinaka, and a good morning to you all. 

It gives me great pleasure to join the Supervisor of Elections this morning in providing an update on Election Preparations for the 2022 General Election. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to firstly congratulate the Fijian Elections Office on the successful implementation of the second round of the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive and Know Your Election Campaign which concluded on 3rd September.

In the first round, the FEO had recorded over 200,000 voter engagements while in the second phase, the teams managed to serve over 62,000 Fijians.

Following the major drive, we now have 689,974 registered voters in Fiji. As per the latest voter stats, we have now recorded 346,129 males and 343,845 females on the National Register of Voters.

The largest cohort of voters sit in between the ages of 21 to 50 years. In terms of the geographical distribution, a highest number of voters are concentrated in the Central Division which makes up 42.9% of the voter register followed by the Western Division which makes up 37.46%.

We have 593,134 Fijians who have upgraded and are on the Blue colored VoterCard while 96,840 are still on the Green VoterCard. The FEO is rolling out extensive voter services from this weekend again so that voters who are still on the Green VoterCard, can upgrade.

Furthermore, we have also commenced Provisional Voter List Display in all urban centres. Since last weekend, voters now have been given the opportunity to check their names on the Voter List and verify their details and the exercise will continue this weekend as well.

Meanwhile, 3 rounds of Provisional Voter List verification have already been conducted in rural and maritime areas.

Ladies and gentlemen, meaningful engagement with stakeholders is key to the electoral process and as such the EC and FEO continue our engagements with the media and political parties as well.

I am told the FEO has already conducted an extensive Media Training program for local journalists and media personnel and the SoE will be talking in detail about it later.

On 25 April 2022, the EC had officially announced the official campaign period for the upcoming general election as well under Section 109 A (1) of the Electoral Act 2014. 

Since then a number of meetings have also been held by FEO with political parties to keep them informed and the Supervisor of Elections held a meeting last Wednesday to provide them a one (1) year update in terms of preparations going into the 2022 General Election.

Ladies and Gentleman, the election date can be announced any day now and we have to be prepared. 

I have had the opportunity to talk about some of the activities and initiatives for this election and the Supervisor of Elections will be talking about them in detail during his presentation.

I would like to end with saying that as the Commission overseeing the electoral process, our goal has always been to deliver an election that is fair and credible and broadly reflects the will of Fijians, and at the same time allows them to cast their votes with confidence, security and freedom.

Ladies and gentlemen, elections preparations are on track and the Commission and the FEO will continue to make every effort to enable every eligible Fijian to exercise their Right to Vote in this election.

I would like to say a big Vinaka Vakalevu to all our international partners and donor agencies for your continued partnership and support in the preparations for the 2022 General Election. 

Thank You.

Vinaka Vaka Levu.    

Launch of Provisional Voter List, Election Readiness Survey Report, Easy Voting Steps Guide and Accreditation Form for the 2022 General Election

by Electoral Commission

Speech by EC Chairperson, Concluding Remarks

Date: 15 September 2022, Time: 11am.

Venue: FEO Conference Room, Level 1, HQ.

Your excellencies, members of diplomatic core, ladies and gentlemen. Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and thank you for joining us at this critical juncture as we work towards delivering the 2022 General Election.

As you have all witnessed throughout todays program, we are Election ready. In every election cycle, we must constantly work on improving the experience of our voters in order to make voting easy and more accessible to the largest number of voters possible. 

The details revealed about the easy steps guide, which will be made available to persons with visual impairments suggests that we are not leaving any Fijian behind in our pursuit of a free and fair election. 

I would like to thank the Director Operations and her team, as well as the Election Disability Access Working Group for making this possible. 

I would also like to congratulate the FEO on its Election Readiness Survey Report. Because of this, we have been able to gauge levels of voter preparedness in Fiji as the nation awaits the announcement of the 2022 General Election. 

We have been able to get data to identify if there are any gaps in voter awareness and Fijians’ access to voter services. Based on this, the FEO can further enhance its strategies if needed to enable Fijians to fully prepare themselves to vote in the 2022 General Election.

Another important step in Election readiness is media accreditation. This is important to ensure compliance with the laws regarding electoral reporting, since we are in the period where media organizations, freelance journalists, broadcasters, publishers and international media will be looking to cover aspects of the general Election. 

I wish to reiterate to the media organizations as well as CSOs to obtain a copy of the Accreditation Form so that they can cover the 2022 General Election.

Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the teams involved in the publication of the Provisional Voter List. This is a critical part of the electoral cycle and since it will be made public, voters now have a chance to check their names to see if it is correctly placed on the voter list.

I would urge all interested voters to take the time to check the Provisional Voter List, and alert the FEO if you have any issues. 

Based on the presentation by the Supervisor of Elections in our meeting last week, the Electoral Commission has approved that the FEO can pack and transport ballot paper books in custom designed ballot paper transport cardboard boxes if the number of candidates exceed 320. 

We have also approved that all used ballot papers at the election must only be packed and transported in the ballot box with proper security and tracking. 

While we are election ready, we will continue to review each and every step of preparations and continue to deliver more innovations so that the process of elections becomes easy and convenient for all voters.

Thank you and Vinaka vaka levu. 

 

KYE Bonanza Draw

by Electoral Commission

Statement by Electoral Commission Chairperson

Mr Mukesh Nand

KYE Bonanza Draw

Date: 09/09/2022

Time: 3pm

Venue: FEO Media Room, Toorak

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen,  

As Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, I would like to firstly extend my sincerest appreciation to all the Fijians who took advantage of the Voter Registration Drive and came forward to register and upgrade their VoterCards.  You all are now more prepared to take part in your country’s democracy.

Ladies and gentleman. our mandate as the Commission overseeing the conduct of elections is to ensure that no Fijian gets left behind.

To this end, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Fijian Elections Office for the successful delivery of the second round of the Nationwide Voter Registration & Awareness Drive in which 58,318 Fijians were able to access voter services.

The national exercise spanning 34 days saw the FEO teams going out to 1,169 villages, 555 settlements and 174 schools in addition to the teams that were based at various urban hotspots around the country. 

The second phase added to the FEO’s ongoing efforts to further ensure that Fijians got every opportunity to register, update their voter details and upgrade to the latest Blue VoterCard ahead of the announcement of the 2022 polls.

I am told the FEO has consolidated the voter numbers after the drive and the Supervisor of Elections will be announcing the latest Voter Stats today.

Ladies and gentleman, the FEO had announced a $10,000 Bonanza to encourage Fijians to register, update their details and upgrade their VoterCards. This was the second Bonanza promotion that was organized by the FEO. 

It is my honour to preside over the Draw today to pick the 100 lucky winners who will walk away with $100 cash.

Every Fijian who accessed voter services between 1st August and 3rd September, 2022 qualified for the Draw which will be conducted electronically using a software application that will randomly select the Electronic Voter Numbers of 100 lucky winners. 

There will be 40 winners from the Central Division, 35 from the West, 15 from the North and 10 from the Eastern Division. 

Before I hand over to the Supervisor of Elections for his announcement and to coordinate the Bonanza Draw, I once again would like to thank all the Fijians who came forward and registered or upgraded their VoterCards.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Election Date can be announced any day now so I would like to urge all Fijians who are yet to register or are still holding onto the Green VoterCard to visit their nearest Voter Services Centre.

Thank You.

Vinaka Vaka Levu.     

Opening of the 2022 General Election Media Training

by Electoral Commission

Statement by Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mr Mukesh Nand

Opening of the 2022 General Election Media Training

Date: 8/09/2022

Time: 9am

Venue: FEO Ground Floor Conference Room

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, members of various media organizations in Fiji, ladies and gentlemen, Bula Vinaka, and a good morning to you all. 

It gives me great pleasure to address you this morning. 

The media plays a critical part in the execution of the 2022 General Election, as it is responsible for the dissemination of election information to a mass audience.  

As you are aware, we are in the period where the Writ for the election can be issued at any time. It is the time when various campaign activities are happening, political parties are seeking high levels of coverage in the media, and the general public is paying close attention to what is being said on the news. 

Now more than ever, it is important that the media is well versed with the electoral process, and disseminates the most correct and relevant information. This includes knowledge of the campaign rules, Electoral Laws, how, where, and what is happening, gender-balanced reporting and reporting about persons with disability, amongst other things. 

Every step of the way, the voting population must also be involved and informed about the current developments, and all the relevant information must be presented to the general public in the most politically neutral and factual manner. 

The 2022 General Election Media Training is the initiative of the Fijian Elections Office, and an attempt to work with the various media organizations for the benefit of the voters. 

This year, media training was done through our online, eVuli platform. Beginning July this year, the platform was made available to whoever wanted to sign up and enroll in the course. 

In the first, second and third phase of the media training, we have introduced various initiatives for journalists, journalism students and any member of the general public. 

Ultimately, the goal is to enhance reporting around elections. We, therefore, sincerely hope that all those in attendance will not only walk away with a great deal of knowledge about electoral reporting, but will share this knowledge with their colleagues in their newsrooms. 

We wish you the very best. 

Vinaka Vakalevu.   

Launch of the FEO Results App

Statement by the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mr Mukesh Nand

Launch of the FEO Results App

18/08/2022 at 12.30pm

 

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here this afternoon, as we witness the launch of the updated 2022 General Election Results App.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Electoral Commission has decided that the theme for this year’s conduct of the general election will be to deliver an election that is fair and credible and broadly reflects the will of the Fijian people, and at the same time allowing them to cast their votes with confidence, security and freedom.

As we are all aware, the most anticipated part of an election process is the results. Traditionally in Fiji, the means of transmitting results has been through the media in which the media obtain the results from the Electoral Commission and publish it widely on their channels.

I’m very, very excited to say that in the 2018 General Election, the Fijian Elections Office developed a more direct means of transmitting results to Fijians. And that meant that any Fijian who has a smartphone is able to access results for the 2018 General Election directly in the palm of their hands by downloading the Fijian Elections Office Results App.

Following the success of the Results App in 2018, as you would all be aware, I’m very excited again, when the Fijian Elections Office decided to upgrade the Results App with new features and new means of transmitting or view means of displaying results. So that any Fijian can get access to results in a very user friendly and convenient manner.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is the main intention of the Electoral Commission, where we constantly update and upgrade processes and systems so that the electoral processes in Fiji continues to develop for the betterment of the ultimate beneficiaries of the entire process.

Additionally, ladies and gentlemen, with the results being delivered in a more user friendly manner, the confidence level of Fijians in elections will also increase. The participation level will also be enhanced and Fijians will feel good that an opportunity to access election results in the palm of their own hands at their own convenience, so that they could do their own analysis. They could do their own assessments and they can do their own predictions.

So, ladies and gentlemen, the overall Results App is a welcome feature in Fijian elections. I’d like to congratulate every one that has developed and tested this app, which will be used in 2022 General Election. With that said, ladies and gentlemen, my hearty thanks to the Supervisor of Elections and his team for their energy and enthusiasm in consistently working towards improving the processes and the delivery of elections.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

 

Electoral Commission Chairperson Speech

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Mukesh Nand

Official handover of Braille materials from US Chargé d’Affaires

06 July 2022

FEO Conference Room @10am

 

US Chargé d’Affaires, Tony Grubel,

Representatives from the Elections Disability Access Working Group (EDAWG)

Director of the Human Rights and Social Development Division of SPC, Miles Young,

Distinguished invited guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen. 

This morning I start by repeating 2 pertinent preamble statements from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From an electoral perspective these statements encompass the spirit of the convention for election management bodies:

(n) Recognizing the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices, 

(o) Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them

Today’s event is yet another step towards building electoral processes in Fiji that are inclusive and promote greater access and participation. Since 2014, the Fijian Elections Office has taken direct initiatives to work with Disabled Persons Organizations and other institutions that have expertise in this area. The outcomes of such collaboration does not get mentioned in everyday conversations but they truly are significant.

The Electoral Commission’s vision for the 2022 General Election is to create a platform for all Fijians to exercise their rights with confidence, security and freedom.  I draw your reference to section 43 (4) of the Electoral Act which requires that:

The facilities provided at a Polling Station where practicable must be reasonable equipped and designed to enable persons with disabilities or other special needs to cast their vote.

This morning, we received 2100 copies of ‘Assisted voting steps -the easy to read guide for the General Election’ in Braille and another such guide that is designed to enable persons with disabilities to participate in the election on their own. These materials will allow them to understand the electoral process better and participate effectively.

I take this opportunity to thank all the agencies that participated in this critical exercise and I thank the donor agencies that saw value in this essential project.  

I wish to conclude by highlighting section 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji on the rights of persons with disabilities:

A person with any disability has the right— 

(a) to reasonable access to all places, public transport and information; 

(b) to use sign language, Braille or other appropriate means of communication; and 

(c) to reasonable access to necessary materials, substances and devices relating to the person’s disability.

While today’s event marks our small steps towards facilitating the above Constitutional Rights, I am sure it will have a big impact on the ultimate participation and ownership in Fiji’s electoral processes.

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu. 

Statement by EC Chairperson

Electoral Commission Chairperson

Mr Mukesh Nand

Vehicle Handover @ FEO Warehouse 

30 June 2022

 

The High Commissioner of India, 

Supervisor of Elections,

Distinguished invited guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Bula Vinaka to you all.

First and foremost, I must thank the people and the Government of India for stepping up to assist the Electoral Commission[‘EC’] and the Fijian Elections Office[‘FEO’] by donating four (4) Mahindra Double Cab Vans today.

As you know this is a very important year not only for the nation but also for the Commission and the FEO as we prepare for the 2022 General Election.

An election poses to be the largest logistics exercise that any country would conduct and such a massive operation must always be supported by the presence of logistics equipment such as vehicles for transport.  

Considering the effort that is required to conduct an election in a day as well as the requirements for the logistics for the FEO, such an important gesture by the Indian Government will go a long way in facilitating the requirements of elections. 

The EC and the FEO have always been positively assisted by the Government of India and these holds true with our collaboration in the 2014 and 2018 General Elections with the assistance of vehicles.

These vehicles I assure to His Excellency, the High Commissioner, will be put to good use and will definitely be an important part of the logistical exercise for the 2022 General Election.  

Indeed, we are very thankful to the Indian Government and the Indian High Commission for their support and assistance and we look forward to your continued participation in our future events. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the EC and the FEO have accomplished nearly all the election readiness tasks and processes. We are election ready. Today’s generous donation will contribute to cost effective delivery of elections this year. The polling venue directory is another significant milestone that signals the professional approach we are taking to conduct this election. 

I also thank the hardworking staff of the FEO who have been very diligent and patient in their readiness for the election and we commend them for the assistance they
provide to the voters and the general public.

With the assistance of our international partners and the support of our local stakeholders, we intend to make the 2022 General Election a platform for all Fijians to express their will with Confidence, Security and Freedom.

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu. 

Announcement on the Official Campaign Period

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Announcement on the Official Campaign Period

FEO Conference Room

Date: 25/04/22

Time: 3pm

 

Members of the Electoral Commission;

Supervisor of Elections;

Representatives from the media; and

Staff of the Fijian Elections Office;

Bula Vinaka and a Good Afternoon to everyone present here today.

As per Section 109 A (1) of the Electoral Act, 2014 the Electoral Commission must determine the campaign period for a general election.

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to announce that the official campaign period for the 2022 General Election will start from tomorrow 26th April 2022 and end 48 hours before Election Day.

As you are aware, the electoral system in Fiji does not provide for a fixed date for the conduct of the General Election. While we do not know the date of election yet, the campaign period will start a month before the earliest date that the election writ can be issued by the President which is 26 May 2022.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the official campaign period signifies that the campaign rules under the Electoral Act 2014 will now come into effect.

Following this announcement today, I will also be launching the Candidates Handbook which explains in detail the various campaign rules that will apply and I urge political parties to go through the Handbook and the Electoral Act and familiarize themselves with these rules.

As we head into the official campaign period, voters can look forward to the manifestoes being put forth by political parties which will give them an opportunity to assess and determine who they would like to vote for come Election Day. It is of utmost importance that political parties do not mislead voters or engage in unlawful activities such as vote buying and bribery in order to manipulate or win support.

The Fijian Elections Office will continue to monitor the campaign activities during this period and anyone found in breach will be dealt with in accordance to the law.

I take this opportunity to urge all political parties and affiliates to campaign in a manner that is fair, transparent and as per the electoral laws of the country.

Ladies and gentlemen as of midnight tonight, the official campaign period for the 2022 General Election will commence.

 

Vinaka.

Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop 

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop 

Suvavou House

Date: 21/04/22

Time: 8:00am

The Supervisor of Elections; 

Representatives of Political Parties; 

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Electoral Commission[EC] is required by law to conduct regular meetings with political parties and since the beginning of this year we have been holding various meetings and sessions with political parties to upskill and build their capacity.

Today’s workshop is one of the most critical amongst all of our meetings and I understand from the presentations today, the Supervisor of Elections[SoE] will be providing political parties with first hand direct information on the actual processes involved in the various steps along the way.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, political parties must realize that operational plans of the Fijian Elections Office[FEO] are tentative in nature and of course be affected by various factors once the election date is announced.

They are to be treated for information purposes, for planning and preoperational purposes and you must always ensure that you treat it with a caution that things are subject to change.

Ladies and Gentlemen, COVID-19 has taught us a very important lesson in life and that it is that we must not take things for granted and that is why you will notice that some of these plans still incorporate COVID safe measures for the very reason that we need to be prepared incase anything surprises us.

We have noticed that political parties participate in all these forums and yet their leaders continue to make incorrect statements about the elections.

We hope that the representation of political parties in these sessions is at very senior levels so that the information that is provided by the Fijian Elections Office reaches the people that actually do a lot of your political party talking.

The choice of venue for any training for political parties is determined based on the cost, availability, the size and as well the suitability. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for your attendance today. With that, I wish you all a productive and successful workshop and I officially declare the Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop open.

Vinaka

Bonanza Draw

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by Electoral Commission Chairperson Mr Mukesh Nand

Event: Bonanza Draw

Venue: FEO Ground Level Conference Room

Time: 7:00pm

Date: 20/04/22

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen. 

It is my honour to preside over this Draw to determine the 300 winners of the $30,000 Bonanza put in place by the Fijian Elections Office [‘FEO’], for the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. 

As we are all aware, the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive resulted in the successful engagement of over 200,000 voters with the FEO. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, prior to the Drive, the FEO had proposed a $30,000 prize money to promote as many Fijians as possible to come down and update to the latest Blue VoterCard or update their details. As such, it was decided that 300 lucky people will walk away with $100 cash. 

Based on that Ladies and Gentlemen, the FEO has set-up these four (4) computers and the Draw will be conducted by a random draw software application.

Ladies and Gentlemen because of the great number of participants in this Bonanza, the Draw will be done electronically and this software will randomly select the Electronic Voter Numbers of 300 lucky winners. 

As was said in the beginning, each voter can only participate once in the Bonanza even though they may have accessed voter services more than once. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, those who had participated in the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive beginning on 25th  February 2022 right up until 14th April 2022, are eligible to participate and without any further ado, I will now proceed to each of these computers and generate the list of winners from the entire list of people that had participated in the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive.

Thank You. 

Vinaka Vaka Levu.