Elections office embark on GPS initiative

By: Ravai Vafo'ou

 

Screen shot 2016-01-07 at 9.47.55 AMThe Fiji Elections Office has plans to use GPS navigation to make the next general elections more accessible to voters.

If successful, the new GPS initiative will allow voters to easily track their polling stations.

The Fiji Elections Office has ambitious plans for the 2018 general elections.

This workshop will look to upskilling these officers on how to assess the various polling stations they will be sent to.

Part of the assessment also is to have a detailed polling venue list on the map.

“We are actually going to each polling station or polling venue to obtain a GPS coordinate which then will be plotted on a map. It is very important to understand that this is not a theoretical map where we sit inside the office and we try and asses a coordinate and draw up a map,” said the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

A naming convention modification will be used with the GPS system.

This will enable voters to accurately track which polling station they will need to go to.

“We have a Vatoa Road, we have a Vatoa Street and then we have another Vatoa Road in Nasinu. We will now according to our naming convention, the Vatoa Road in Samabula will be Vatoa Road, Samabula, in Samabula,” highlighted Saneem.

For this to happen, participants were warned of the importance of data accuracy.

“More commonly it is seen that during data collection stage people become very lax and people try to fake data by just entering numbers or clicking on the GPS device. They bring back data that is not accurate,” he added.

The teams’ assessments of the various polling venues will also set its standards.

“This information is critical for operations for the next election. All of you seated here have this very important task of delivering to us the very correct and accurate GPS coordinate. The last thing we want is you telling us this river is after the polling venue and when the team gets there with their ballot boxes and screens and they find out they have to cross the river,” stated the Supervisor of Elections.

The GPS initiative will also highlight the different polling venues and give certain details such as the total number of voters and polling stations.

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