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Postal ballot papers packed and distributed today

October 20, 2018 1:04 am

The Elections Office has begun packing postal ballot papers to be distributed to postal voters for November 14.

The entire packing process was observed by the media, multinational observer group and party agents at the Ratu Sukuna house in Suva this morning.

Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem says as of yesterday, 4450 postal voting applications have been received and their packages will be sent via courier from today.

He says each postal package will contain a ballot paper, a voter instruction booklet, a postal information pamphlet, a secret envelope, a return envelope and a transmission envelope.

”Once the voters have received their postal packages they must use the voter instruction booklet to identify the three digit number of the candidate they wish to vote for. To cast a valid vote, voters must ensure that they clearly circle, tick or cross the three digit number of their preferred candidate. After marking the ballot paper the voter must fold the ballot paper and seal it in the secret envelope and place this secret envelope in the transmission envelope. Voters must complete and sign the declaration at the back of the transmission envelope before placing it into the return envelope.”

Saneem says the information in the declaration must be identical to the application form that was previously completed by the voter and approved by the Election office as this will be matched for verification purposes.

He adds voters must send their postal ballots to the address on the front of the return envelope – which are pre-paid.

The Fijian Elections Office has engaged the services of DHL – the world renowned courier service provider for all international package delivery and return while the EMS has been engaged to provide local courier services.

Saneem says the FEO will also assist in local delivery to places where the EMS does not go.

”All postal ballots must reach the Fijian Elections Office by 6pm on November 14. We’re trying to get the packages for the furthest outpace first to enable voters to return their packages within that time frame. We’re hopeful that the packages reach all applicants with sufficient time for it to be returned. This means those who applied early are most likely going to receive their packages early while those who apply the very last minute may get their packages delivered to them very late.”

Fijians who are yet to apply for postal voting have been advised to send their application to the Elections office before 5pm next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Supervisor of Elections was the first to receive his postal voting package this morning and the rest will be distributed by this afternoon.