Fiji’s Voter Registration Breaks Half a Million

Fiji has marked another significant milestone in its path to true parliamentary democracy with the announcement that more than half a million Fijians have registered to vote in the scheduled elections in 2014.

The 504,588 registered Fijian voters represent more than 80% of the estimated number of eligible voters, and registration will continue in 2013, notably for Fijians living overseas.

The Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said this marked another significant achievement in Fiji’s Electronic Voter Registration [EVR]. “We are happy and proud that the Fijian people have shown such a strong commitment to this process. The impressive turn-out is a clear indication that Fijians are keen to participate in true parliamentary democracy for the first time in Fiji’s history”.

With some registration teams from the outer islands still to report their figures, the current tally for the second round of EVR – which ran from November 10th to December 7th – stands at 17,295. This is in addition to the 487,293 who registered during the first round of registration from July to September.

The Attorney-General said the Bainimarama Government is committed to ensuring that integrity and transparency are built into thesystem. “It is essential that Fijians have confidence in this process – confidence that when they cast their vote they will be identified correctly and that their vote will be counted.”

To ensure integrity in the Fijian electoral system, the Fiji Elections Office has employed a biometric voter registration system designed by the Canadian company CODE Inc. This includes the hardware, software, training and support that allow the Elections Office to register voters and issue Voter Identification Cards.

Through the incorporation of biometric safeguards – such as an electronic scan of an individual’s thumbprint – this technology helps to ensure a clean voter list and eliminate voter fraud during the scheduled 2014 elections.

The Attorney-General said the fact that more than half a million people had registered to vote was a sign that Fijian voters were eager to participate freely in the process. “There was no compulsion for people to register. Each and every Fijian who has registered so far has made a personal decision that they want their voice to be heard in 2014’s parliamentary election”, he said.

The 2014 parliamentary elections will be the first in Fiji’s history in which every vote will be counted equally and Fijians will not be forced to vote along racial lines.

“The Bainimarama Government is committed to the policy of ‘One person, one vote, one value’ to ensure that no individual’s vote will be weighted more heavily than another’s.”

Registration will now close while the Elections Office processes the new registrations and cleanses the list of fraudulent or duplicate entries. After the first round of registration, 30 trained clerksscrutinised the voter list and removed 1,441 problematic entries.

“The easy and quick identification of these problematic entries is proof that the Electronic Registration System does exactly what it is meant to do,” the Attorney-General said.

As voter registration continues, the Constitutional Commission is now in the final stages of formulating a draft constitution, and the Prime Minister has called for expressions of interest by individuals and organisations for appointment to the Constituent Assembly, which will review the draft constitution.

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