Fiji eyes lessons from India's electoral process

May 14, 2024 12:21 pm

[Source: Supplied]

Two members from the Election Commission recently participated in the International Election Visitor Program.

It included representatives from 23 countries.

During the program, participants had the opportunity to observe the polling process and innovative initiatives implemented by the Electoral Commission of India.

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Led by Electoral Commission Chairperson Barbara Malimali and accompanied by Dr. Atu Emberson-Bain, the visit provided insights into electoral best practices and innovative approaches to voter engagement and participation.

Malimali expressed admiration for the transparency and inclusivity of the Indian electoral process.

[Source: Supplied]

The delegates highlighted initiatives such as green polling stations and the widespread use of technology, including the randomization of Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails.

Malimali states that Fiji can learn a great deal from India.

She emphasized that not only was the election peaceful, inclusive and accessible but it was also conducted in a festive atmosphere.

Malimali also suggested reintroducing similar practices in Fiji to enhance awareness and engagement in the electoral process.

Dr Emberson-Bain also praised the sight of women managing a polling station in what she referred to as the pink booth.

She noted that everything ran smoothly, calmly and diligently.

The team also highlighted the concept of PWD booths where men and women with disabilities are entrusted with similar responsibilities for running a polling station.

Dr Emberson-Bain regarded this as a commendable example of disability inclusion, surpassing mere ramp access and Braille signage.

She emphasized that this approach aligns with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly Article 29 which acknowledges the right of persons with disabilities to fully and effectively participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.