2022 Fiji Election: Woman, 109, among 4235 new voters

The Fijian Elections Office served more than 21,000 people at their voter services centre over the last 10 days, made three name changes, upgraded cards from green to blue and registered 4235 new voters including a 109-year-old woman.

She was registered at the Suva Civic Centre, one of more than 10 centres opened in towns and city centres on Viti Levu.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the majority of the 21,209 persons who were served at the voter services centre updated their residential address.

“For example we updated the details of a person. She was from Rualago in Labasa. She moved to Suva in 2016. But until now, she had not updated her details. She did not vote in the last election because she couldn’t go to a polling station. She updated her details at the Voter Service Center, and she has assured that she will be voting in the next election.”

Saneem said so far they have had eight applications for name change, five of which are still pending.

“That will be sent to the Births Deaths Marriage office. We will facilitate these from the Fijian elections office, and we’re working very closely with the BDM office to facilitate this, and we will continue to do so for all Fijians that want to have an amendment of name.

“So, the other point is the amendment of name was not for females only, a gentleman also used the opportunity to correct his name.

“So, there have been three done so far, two females and a male. So, the changes that they did depends directly on the person. I can say it was not only the maiden name.

“So, the process is a person is able to change his or her name, as and when the person wishes. It is their right to do so. There is no restrictions on it. The only change now is, it is more convenient to do it. Previously you were required to go through a lawyer, do a deed poll, take it there, there is a process of verification, there is a delay, there can be some declining also.

“Nowadays, it is very simple. You can choose to change your name, your name change will be done, you will be given a new amended birth certificate. Based on the amended birth certificate, you can take it to all official records and update your details.

“So, the change of name process has been made easier. We’re not forcing anybody to change their name, We’re simply recording the name that is on your birth certificate on the voter card.”

A similar voter services program is planned for the North and maritime Islands, which will be affirmed in due course and in particular when it most safest in line with COVID-19 protocols.

For overseas voters, Saneem said the FEO will set up an online platform early next year to allow them to upgrade their cards.

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