January 24, 2012

Sacramento Bee: Fiji Selects Canadian Firm to Assist with Electronic Voter Registration for 2014 Elections

By Republic of Fiji
Published: Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 - 5:09 am

SUVA, Fiji, Jan. 23, 2012 -- SUVA, Fiji, Jan. 23, 2012  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Republic of Fiji today announced its selection of the Canada-based firm CODE Incorporated to conduct electronic voter registration (EVR) in preparation for Fiji's upcoming Parliamentary elections. CODE was chosen based on its experience, accuracy and transparency in assisting developing nations with logistically challenging terrains—a factor important for Fiji, given that its population is spread over roughly 110 islands.

"As the next step on the path to Fiji's 2014 elections, selection of a highly-respected international partner such as CODE Inc. will ensure all segments of the Fijian population are properly registered to vote," said Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. "For the first time in Fiji's history, the 2014 elections will feature true universal suffrage—one person, one vote, one value—and it is critical we get it right."

The Fijian Government chose CODE from among 11 proposals, consisting of four Fijian firms and seven international firms—from Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Spain, and two from the United States. The decision process took more than three months, with presentations and extensive question and answer sessions.

The Ottawa-based firm further distinguished itself through its cost proposal and by offering local knowledge transfer, through which they will educate Fijians on best practices for voter registration. The EVR process will cost approximately FJ$4 million.

Over the past 20 years, CODE has worked with more than 65 countries worldwide to deliver support of their registration programs. CODE recently completed the registration of more than 800,000 voters in Gambia in preparation for the country's 2011 Presidential Elections, and the successful registration of 1.5 million Kenyans at 1,600 registration sites in 18 of Kenya's 210 voting constituencies.

Fiji's projected voter base is approximately 660,000 voters, aged 18 and up. The Attorney-General says the lowering of the voting age will ensure the young adult population has a say in the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

In choosing to use EVR, Fiji is following recommendations made by the European Union's report on Fiji's 2006 elections, which cited irregularities with voter registration and voting practices, such as 101% voter turnout in one constituency, and the disenfranchisement of certain voter groups.

Fiji has sent out invitations to the international community to participate in the EVR process by way of financial assistance; however, so far no countries have opted to participate.

SOURCE Republic of Fiji

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