24 Sep 2018

Questions over electoral roll numbers in Fiji

3:33 pm on 24 September 2018

The number of voters on Fiji's electoral roll appears to be at odds with the country's census figures, with possibly up to 50,000 extra voters registered compared to the population count.

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Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

Last week the FBC news reported 631,895 people had registered as voters as of 1 August.

The Electoral Office warning people to register before the roll closes on the day the election is announced.

The Office has still not announced the date of the General Election but the government has said it will be before 22 November.

The Statistics Department said there were 580,332 aged 18 and over in the September 2017 census.

The population for Fijians age 17 and over was just under 595,000, which will be lower now as people have died since the census, a year ago.

There appears to be a discrepancy of 35,000 - 50,000 extra people on the electoral roll.

This cannot be accounted for by overseas voters, as they numbered 7,500 in June.

Opposition parties in Fiji have already raised concerns about possible roll anomolies with SODELPA concerned about the reallocation of polling stations to different provinces, a discrepancy of over 3000 voters on the actual count on the electoral roll, and an unidentified polling venue.

The Fiji Labour Party also expressed concern about the Australian High Commissioner John Feakes telling local media he was confident that the electoral office would deliver a credible election this year.

The party's Mahendra Chaudhry said it was highly unusual for a foreign diplomat to make such a statement ahead of the elections and he expected Australia to come in with an open mind and not have already pre-judged the issue.

Australia is going to co-lead the international election observer group with India and Indonesia.

The Fiji Electoral Office has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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