Delay in Election Glitch Scrutiny Costing the Country: Fiji Electoral Commission

Fiji’s Electoral Commission (EC) is concerned about the delay in investigating the “glitch” that occurred during the vote counting process in the 2022 General Elections, pointing out the repercussions including unnecessary rental costs for storing ballot boxes and a gradual erosion of public’s trust in the country’s electoral system.

The ‘glitch’ that occurred on December 14, 2022, caused certain candidates to receive unusually high numbers of votes on the FEO Results App.

EC Chair Barbara Malimali said the public deserves answers adding that the delay will also hinder preparations for the Local Government Elections.

“We understand that the Government has its processes to follow. However, it is now nearly a year since the FEO took this matter up with them, and the public deserves answers. Every day, every week, and every month that we wait for an investigation to be done is costing the country in unnecessary rent as the ballot boxes have to be stored,” Malimali said in a statement issued following their sixth ECF meeting in Suva yesterday.

“Not only that, it will leave the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) with insufficient time to undertake registration for the municipal elections which the government wishes to hold in a few months, and the political parties insufficient time to campaign. It will give us very little time to reach out to women to encourage them to come forward as candidates.

“The continued delay in undertaking an independent audit is not helping us to rebuild that trust with our main stakeholders, the people of Fiji.”

A report by the FEO, released early last year, had attributed the ‘glitch’ to human error.

Meanwhile, since their first meeting, the ECF has among other things drafted amendments to the three main electoral laws and reviewed Local Government Regulations drafted by the FEO.

The Commission is currently reviewing internal Human Resources and Operational Policies, and dealing with staff recruitment and budget issues. In addition, the Commission participated in two observer missions to Pakistan and Indonesia, and two local workshops on Protecting Electoral Processes in the Information Environment and Climate Change and Gender.

Related Articles:

2022 Election Glitch was caused by human error: FEO Report

Attorney General Siromi Turaga said: “The confidence of our people in the FEO must be restored.”

Photo: File

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