PRESS RELEASE (2 November 2012):
GJP President calls for investigation of all proxy votes cast, cites major electoral fraud
GJP President Ralph Regenvanu has called for an investigation of the validity of all proxy votes cast in Tuesday’s general election. Regenvanu stated that he is now seeking legal advice and consulting with other political leaders as to whether an electoral petition needs to be lodged in order to ensure such an investigation takes place.
Regenvanu says he agrees with the statement made by Transparency International yesterday that there was “major electoral fraud” in the election.
“The impossibly high number of registered voters in the election can be explained by the existence of 1000’s of multiple registrations and false proxies. There is a need to go back and check the validity of proxy votes cast at all polling stations, to verify the existence of the persons purported to have delegated their vote, and to ensure that if these people do in fact exist, that they did not cast second votes elsewhere”.
Regenvanu has called for this investigation in light of reports now coming in from many constituencies of candidates scoring high numbers of votes because of hundreds of proxy votes.
“There needs to be investigation of allegations that the Principal Electoral Officer Lawson Samuel was transferred out of his post on the eve of the election so that 1000’s of false proxies could be issued to be used in favor of certain caretaker ministers who were facing defeat in the election. This is a serious allegation that needs to be investigated, especially in light of the reports now coming in from many constituencies of winning candidates receiving hundreds of proxy votes”.
“If 1000’s of proxy votes were in fact improperly issued, it explains many things; not only the impossible size of the electoral roll, but also the transfer of an honest PEO to a different job on the day of the official declaration (a move that the caretaker Government has refused to give reasons for), and the large numbers of votes received by caretaker ministers whom it was widely believed in their own constituencies would not be re-elected. Information from the Electoral Office confirms that prior to Lawson’s transfer out of the position of Principal Electoral Officer on the 10th October he had approved less than 100 proxy vote applications, and had refused 100’s of applications because they failed to meet the required criteria. As such, there is a need to check all proxy votes cast, and in particular those that contributed votes to winning candidates”.
Regenvanu is also calling for the investigation to be undertaken with the assistance of the Police and international observers like Transparency International, as the allegations of fraud implicate the Electoral Office itself in improper practices.