IC Conference
ter nformation, ommunication & ducation work

Global Knowledge Network On Voter Education - learning from each other

Enabling Overseas Voter Registration and Awareness
The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has an electronic voter registration platform where any Fiji citizen above the age of 18 may be registered to vote, provided they are not serving a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or longer imposed by a court in Fiji or by a court of another country, and / or under a law in force in Fiji, declared to have a mental disorder, as per the constitutional requirement. The constitution specifically permits the registration of Fijians living overseas, provided they still hold a valid Fijian passport.

Overseas Voter Registration for 2014 General Election:
In 2013, the FEO conducted registration of voters overseas and by the 2014 General Election, they had conducted registration in over 10 countries over a period of 9 months. Teams were sent directly to these countries to facilitate the registration.
In terms of statistics for the 2014 General Election, there were 591,101 voters out of which 5,508 Fijians from overseas were registered. Anyone registered overseas can only apply and vote by post. Of those that applied for postal voting for the 2014 General Election, 2,219postal ballot satchels had been received by DHL, who were engaged to facilitate the courier of postal ballots through a competitive tender process.

Figure 1 and 2: Overseas Voter Registration in 2014 in Santa Rosa, California, USA

Voter Registration in Pacific Island Countries:
Following the conclusion of the 2014 General Election, there were concerns raised about the lack of voter registration done in neighboring islands in the Pacific, and in 2017, from the period of March to May, a successful registration drive was carried out in 9 islands in which 594voters were registered. Countries visited included Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands.

Overseas Voter Registration for 2018 General Election:
To streamline the registration process, and to avoid any confusions and additional expenses, the Overseas Voter Registration Drive for the 2018 General Election, will be conducted around the Fijian Independence Day celebrations all over the world where there are Fiji Embassies and consulates. This includes 9 countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Hawaii, Canada, United Kingdom, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Marshall Islands.
A comprehensive schedule for the Overseas Voter Registration Drive has been compiled and awareness has been done by the respective Fiji embassies and consulates. The FEO has clarified that a Fijian Passport or a Certificate of Citizenship are the mandatory documents required for the registration of first time voters. Some of the services that FEO provides during the Overseas Voter Registration Drive include new registrations, updating of voter details and replacement of the voter cards with the VoterCard 2.0 as well as awareness on postal voting for the 2018 General Election.

Partnership with other key Stakeholders:
Fiji has a national airline, Fiji Airways, and majority of the incoming and outgoing visitors from Fiji and Fiji citizens use Fiji Airways. To access Fijians on this plane and keeping in mind that most of these people are those that may be eligible to register, Fijian Elections Office entered into an agreement with the airline magazine and placed an ad informing voters about the voter registration process.

Figure 3: Fiji Airways Magazine open with the back cover showing

This magazine is accessible to every passenger in the plane and is available for the passenger carry with them as well. These strategies have been very useful to facilitate the information to be accessed by the Fijians, as well as the Fijian Elections Office Facebook channels.

Figure 4: Screenshot of FEO Facebook Post on Overseas Voter Registration

The Fijian Elections Office works in conjunction with the Fijian Embassies and High Commissions all over the world to facilitate registrations and this creates a smooth machinery for accessing Fijians where there is massive population. At the time of election, Fijians who have registered overseas apply for a postal vote and receive a ballot at their postal address.

Figure 5: World Map Showing Countries where voters have been registered for 2018 General Election

 Natasha Verma
(International Relations Officer, Fijian Elections Office )
Arin Kumar
(Public Relations Officer, Fijian Elections Office )