The MOG has not observed any irregularities in the electoral steps observed or significant issues that would prevent registered voters from casting their ballot during pre-polling through postal voting or on election day, Fiji’s international observers’ group says of their assessment of the Fijian Elections Office as well as other aspects of the conduct of elections to date as the country readies to go to the polls tomorrow.
In a pre-election statement the MOG, co-chaired by Australia, India, and Indonesia, said their assessment stem in part from their observation of all key electoral steps, FEO functions, and operations since the issuance of the writ in late October 2022, and in part, meetings with various stakeholders including political parties, civil society groups and visits, and meetings in remote areas of the country across all four divisions.
“The Fijian Elections Office is a professional organisation and is well-prepared to deliver a successful general election in 2022,” the MOG stated.
“No significant irregularities were observed at the 115 pre-polling venues visited by MOG observers from 5 to 9 December.
“The MOG was provided with full access to observe all steps in the electoral process, including the voter registration process, establishment of National Register of Voters, polling staff training, voter awareness, and education, candidate nomination (including appeals and objections), candidate draw, printing and storage of ballots, and pre-poll voting,” the MOG stated.
“The MOG also met with a vast array of stakeholders, such as political parties, civil society, religious groups, and all relevant Fijian government institutions. This has included visits and meetings in remote areas of the country across all four divisions.”
The observer group’s assessment also found that the FEO has continued to improve its processes since the 2018 general election, including having implemented a number of key recommendations from the 2018 MOG report.
“For example, significant efforts have been made to engage directly with communities regarding voting procedures and to increase the public presence of the FEO as a technically proficient organisation. The MOG welcomes the FEO’s recent partnerships to increase voter awareness and information, including among younger voters in remote areas and women. The MOG notes the FEO has also made use of technological aids, such as barcode scanning, to ensure greater security and efficiency in the packing and storing of ballot papers, as well as the ability for voters to text a hotline to confirm their polling station.”
The MOG is encouraging all registered Fijian voters to make their voices heard and come out and vote on 14 December. It also noted the Supervisor of Elections’ advice that all Fijians who are registered to vote and arrive at their designated polling venue will be able to vote on election day, with or without their updated voter card.
Voting starts at 7.30 am tomorrow and ends at 6 pm or when the last person in the queue at 6 pm has voted. Voters are strongly encouraged to text their voter numbers to 1500 to confirm their polling venues before leaving their residences. The text message will also provide the name and contact details of the person who could be called upon to advise about the free transport to the polling venue.
MOG observers, numbering over 90 from 16 countries and two regional organisations (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Melanesian Spearhead Group) will “visit every one of the four of Fiji’s electoral districts” observing the conduct of elections across the country tomorrow and “will also observe the counting and tallying of the ballots.”