When Ignorance is Bliss
John Kotoisuva is the president of the Fiji Community Association of Auckland who wrote in Facebook he's "fuelled by a lack of transparency about how the votes in Fiji and overseas will be recorded and counted" in the September election" before stating, "The Fiji government needs to give a clear explanation if voters are to have confidence in the election and the result."
There really is no good reason why a person in his position —who can so easily influence the opinions of others— should make such a statement, There may possibly be legitimate concerns about the fairness of some elements of the election process in the lead up to the elections, but not when and after voters vote.
All John needs to do is keep up with the online Fiji media, read something other than the vehemently anti-Bainimarama blogs, and visit the Elections Office http://www.electionsfiji.gov.fj/ website to check on their news releases and educational videos.
Here's an extract of what I published on April 9th. I hope it quell most of his doubts.
- To vote, voters will need their voting registration ID (or if this is lost or forgotten, a finger print will be taken and the vote allowed if the print matches that on the ID). Voters are not allowed to talk (except to election officials) or take a sample voting paper or instructions on how to vote into the station and they must not use their cell phones.
- Inside the polling station there will be several large notices [and booklets] showing the number, name and photo of each candidate. The voter has to take the ballot paper to a private voting booth and put a cross, tick or circle around one number, that of his or her chosen candidate. In previous elections only a cross was valid. A finger of each voter will then be marked in ink to prevent voting twice.
- The process will be overseen by election officials, foreign and other observers and representatives of the political parties, and when the votes are counted at each polling station, any one of them can ask for a recount.
- Final results will be posted securely to the Supervisor of Elections whose team, overseen by the candidates, foreign and other observers, political parties and the media, will record the votes cast for each candidate and each political party.
- The results will then be forwarded to to the Electoral Commission who will calculate the allocation of parliamentary seats, having deduced candidates who failed to reach the 5% threshold, using a formula in use in at least 39 other countries.
John, the multi-national team of observers will be headed by Australia and Indonesia. The EU will make it own separate analysis. This is far more rigorous than was the case in previous elections.