A Facebook post claims that an electronic vote counting system was used in the last two Fijian general elections.
In an email to AAP FactCheck, Mr Saneem said that manual counting was used in the last two Fijian elections.
“It has been manual. We used pen and paper for voting purposes. Counting was done manually by our staff.”
He also confirmed the same process will be used in the 2022 election.
Mr Saneem has previously explained that after votes are manually counted, the FEO receives results from individual polling stations through a results management system. This system uses locally developed software to deliver ballot data to the FEO either through phone calls or scanned results.
“The ballots are physically counted – as they were in 2014 and 2018 – and only thereafter entered into the electronic system,” he said in an email.
“The electronic results management system is merely a method of communicating the results to the public.”
Prof Fraenkel noted that the convention of releasing “provisional results” – whereby polling results are released intermittently throughout election night – can generate scepticism about the counting process.
“This creates massive suspicions, as it did in 2014 and 2018, that ballot-rigging is occurring,” he said. “It is pretty certain that they will do the same thing again because since the 2018 election that method has been placed into law via one of the many electoral amendment acts (p6).”
Prof Fraenkel also said that the interim statement issued by multinational observers, often before the official count has concluded, can encourage opposition parties to make allegations of electoral fraud.
“Both practices are, in my view, deeply destabilising but easily resolved if either the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) or the [multinational observers] behave sensibly.”
A claim that an electronic vote counting system was used in the past two Fijian general elections is false. The Fijian Elections Office and an independent expert confirmed that manual counting was used for the 2014 and 2018 polls.
Votes will also be counted by hand for the election on December 14.
False – The claim is inaccurate.