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More Bogus Voter Cases Trouble Fiji Poll Officials

By ANISH CHAND: August 29, 2001 Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): A first for the Fiji elections today - a voter whose name was not present on the electoral rolls was allowed to cast her vote at the Samabula polling station in Suva.

Also, four cases of voter impersonation was reported, the highest in a single day after four days of polling. Three cases were at the Nakaikoko polling station in Rewa and one in Rakiraki.

Fiji Television reported tonight that Selina Vere was allowed to vote after her name appeared on computer records.

"I insisted that I had registered to vote and my name should be on the rolls," Vere told Fiji TV.

"The presiding officer came over and allowed me to vote despite my name being not on the rolls.

The Supervisor of Elections, Walter Rigamoto, was not aware of the incident and told Fiji TV that he would comment on the issue tomorrow.

Missing names on electrol rolls have continued to be a problem.

Hundreds of voters around the country have been turned away from polling stations in the last four days complaining that their names were not on the rolls.

These voters have been asked to fill in "an attempt to vote card" to escape prosecution.

The impersonators, according to a report on Bula 100FM, were detected by the presiding officer at the Rewa station after being informed by a party official.

The three Indo-Fijian men were handed over to the police for further investigation.

Meanwhile, polling officials at the Nakavu station in Namosi had to intervene to stop a local chief from ordering the sheds of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and the Fiji Labour Party from being dismantled from the school premises.

The unnamed chief, according to the radio report, backed off after a fellow villager challenged his decision.

Voting in the Western division progressed well with the Ba Kei Viti holding a strong lead over Laisenia Qarase's SDL party in the Ba area.

Bula 100FM news based their report on exit polls obtained from party sheds in Tavua, Ba and Lautoka.

* Pictured: Rotuma Party shed officials near a Suva polling station today as the Fiji election entered its fourth day. Photo: Peter Emberson

Meanwhile, three bomb threats in as many days directed along the busy Ellery Street in the heart of Suva have alarmed and inconvenienced tenants and shoppers.

The calls proved to be a hoax but police are not taking any chances. The suspect the calls may be linked to the elections.

Buildings in the street were emptied of hundreds of people today while a fast reaction military explosives unit searched the area.

+++niuswire

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