2022 General Election: Ballots Verification – ‘Your Vote Is Safe And Secret’

By Rakesh Kumar, Fiji Times – 8 December 2022

Mohammed Saneem speaking to the media at the Star Printery in Suva, on Thurs 17 Nov 2022. Picture: Eliki Nukutabu

The Fijian Elections Office began the verification of postal ballots yesterday, a process that will continue until 6pm on December 14.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said those holding onto postal ballots had until 6pm on December 14 to deliver them to the FEO.

He said the verification team would not conduct any counting until the night of December 14.

“They (FEO) will continue to do this 24/7 right up until we finish verifying all the postal ballots that are returned to us before 6pm on the 14th of December,” he said.

“I think there is a small confusion that they’re undergoing.

“They are all thinking that they were supposed to return the postal ballot by the 24th, that’s not the case.”

Mr Saneem said they would not accept postal ballot papers inside polling stations.

“What we will do is that from today until December 14, every time we receive postal ballots, we will continue to store them in ballot boxes with proper seals and management.

“The team here is only going to verify the postal ballots that will come back,” he said.

He said the verification team would not open any ballot papers or the secret envelope.

“They are just taking out envelopes from the transmission envelopes, verifying the details and then placing 650 ballot papers per box and sealing it up.

“One other thing to note, we will not know who’s ballot paper went into which box. “So be rest assured that your vote is totally safe and secret,” Mr Saneem said.

He said about 1000 postal ballots from Fijians overseas had been received.