Election Universe

Unorthodox ballot layout raises concerns in September Fiji polls

Unorthodox ballot layout raises concerns in September Fiji polls
August 26 2014, 05:01

Voters in the Republic of Fiji, a Melanesian island country in the South Pacific Ocean, are set to fill all fifty (50) seats in its Parliament in the upcoming September General Elections. Yet, ahead of Election Day, a number of people are raising concern over changes in the ballot.

In compliance with a recently promulgated electoral decree, the Fijian Elections Commission (FEC) has said that instead of names of the candidates being printed on the ballot, voters will simply be marking a number assigned to a candidate.

Anticipating possible confusion, the FEC has posted the following on the FAQ  section of its website The ballot paper will have a series of numbers on it.  Each candidate will be allotted a particular number, and their numbers will be advertised prior to the election.  On Election Day there will also be booklets available with all the candidates and their ballot numbers.  The voter will choose the number of the person they wish to vote for, and then place a tick, a cross or a circle around the relevant number on the ballot paper.”

The rather unusual format of the ballot has sparked some concerns and protests from different sectors, the most vocal of which is from the National Federation Party, which has said that  replacing the names with numbers is bound to create confusion and that the “ (unorthodox) ballot paper renders meaningless any semblance of the elections being free, fair and credible. Voters are being denied their political rights to choose their representative in a manner which is simple, logical and conforms to a voter’s political ideology and belief.”

The FEC has yet to comment on the protests.

Some 554,500 registered voters are expected to come in droves to polling centers nationwide.

Photo courtesy of : http://www.freeflagicons.com/country/fij