Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem is appealing to voters in designated prepoll areas to turn up in numbers, as early voting starts today in 149 venues across the country.
About one-third of the 77,907 voters including police and military officers are expected to have their say today, starting as early as 8am in some localities
The 149 venues spread across the country including 24 in the central division are among 613 that will be operational for prepoll through Friday 9 December.
In the 2018 elections, about 66 percent participated in prepoll a prelude to a 12 percent decrease in overall voter turnout that year, to 72 percent compared to 84.6 percent in 2014.
A voter turnout and survey report on the 2018 election compiled by the Fijian Elections Office attributed the low turnout in prepoll in part to “little time to convey the dates for pre-poll voting to the population.”
Four years on, Mr. Saneem says information on the 2022 prepoll is not scarce, with the FEO having carried out “a lot of awareness around pre-poll”, including meetings with all the Turaga-ni-koro and advisory councillors.”
Meanwhile, he will be keeping a close eye on the turnout, saying that if Fiji does not move past the 2018 turnout rate at the close of prepoll on Friday, “we will all have to do a lot of work for the following Wednesday.”
Election proper is scheduled for next Wednesday 14 December.