Chandra confident of voter turnout

Electoral Commission chairperson Suresh Chandra. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

ELECTORAL Commission chairperson Suresh Chandra says while the results of pre-polling do not seem to indicate the turn out on polling day, he is confident that more than 550,000 voters who are expected to cast their votes will turn out in huge numbers on November 14.
Mr Chandra made the comment as the six-day pre-polling came to a close yesterday.He said the Fijian Elections Office managed to cover all the pre-polling stations across the country.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said as of 2.30pm yesterday, they had recorded a total of 44,667 voters during the pre-polling period.

Out of the 14,777 voters recorded in the Central Division, only 9694 had cast their votes, Eastern Division only 11,432 voted out of the 19,384 registered voters, for the Northern Division only 9,763 voted out of the 14,709 registered voters and for the Western Division, only 13,778 voted out of the 22,040 registered voters.

The Fijian Elections Office also received a total of 3660 postal ballot papers yesterday.

Mr Chandra said the ballot boxes were safe and under guard by the police officers, adding this will be the case too on November 14.

Mr Saneem said a report in The Fiji Times on a 79-year-old man who missed his chance to vote was false.

He said instead of checking the facts, the newspapers editor continued to say that the FEO continued to attack the media organisation.

Mr Saneem said The Fiji Times should learn to clarify issues before trying to sensationalise them.

The Fiji Times editor Fred Wesley said it was unfortunate that the Supervisor of Elections had decided to take another swipe at The Fiji Times.

“As I have already mentioned this week, The Fiji Times has an important role to play in the dissemination of information to our readers on the election,” Wesley said.

He said if voters had problems exercising their fundamental democratic rights to vote, then both Mr Saneem and the public needed to know.

“This is an opportunity for Mr Saneem and his office to learn about the problems of the people they are supposed to serve.

“The election is not about Mr Saneem and his office. It is about the voters.

“The Fijian Elections Office had four years to prepare for this important national exercise. So why are these issues occurring now?

“The 2018 General Election is an important event for the country and we intend to cover every aspect of the polls, including issues faced by the voters.

“It is sad that the Supervisor of Election has found it fit to attack The Fiji Times.

“I am sure he has more important things to do,” Wesley said.

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