Editorial comment – Counting down the days

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Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem speaks to the media. Picture: FILE

As the Fijian Elections Office began packing election day materials at its warehouse in Laucala Beach Estate yesterday, we are reminded about the very important role we must play this month.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the ballot boxes were prepared to be sent to their respective offices.

He said packing would continue right up “until the final box for the last venue”, and they had about 10 days to do this.

The packing team, he said, was in good spirits and had 1435 boxes to pack in the next 10 days.

Counting, he said, would take place at each polling station on election night and presiding officers at the station would fill out a Protocol of Result book, which has to be witnessed by at least two people.

These people, he said, could either be polling staff, police officers, party agents or members of the public.

Pre-poll will begin tomorrow and will be held until Friday, December 9.

We look ahead now to what is surely going to be a very interesting week as parties up the intensity on their campaigns around the country.

We look for greater confidence in democracy. We have seen political discussions and public dialogue increase and this should be encouraged, but obviously without personal attacks and maligning.

It is important that we understand, and appreciate view points, and consider our positions in the greater scheme of things.

They offer us varying degrees of information. The key element though without a doubt, remains the need for voters to make well informed choices at the polls.

Political parties are coming with their say, discussing their policies, proposals and hopes and aspirations.

They have pushed their messages, driven their campaigns and addressed issues they believe matter to the masses through various platforms, in mainstream media and on social media.

For the voter, there are many factors to consider. There will be key issues that are close to their hearts.

These are election issues they have at the top of their priority list.

They will consider bread and butter issues, employment, health, poverty, education, housing for instance, and security. In saying that, it is important that voters understand the power they have on Election Day.

You have the power to vote in our government. The exercise starts with being aware of what is happening around you, and being aware of what the various political parties have to offer.

It should also be about appreciating how you factor into how the parties plan to run government.

We realise this is a month of festivities, however, on December 14, you get the opportunity to make a decision for the nation, and for your future.

You will decide who gets to be in Parliament. It’s an event thousands of people are actually looking forward to. For starters, that’s encouraging.