The Fiji Elections Office app is back online after a glitch last night forced the suspension of provisional results.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem briefed media in the early hours of today saying attempts to restart a failed data transfer had caused the app to glitch out and give a disproportionate amount of votes to some candidates.
Two candidates in particular received a boost of about 28,000 and 14,000 votes respectively.
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“The situation occurred because of the termination of a data transfer. And then when we retried to do it, that’s when things got messy. Of course, with the results that are provisional right now, we are uploading you know with the result management system data directly,” Saneem explained.
Saneem reassured media the problem had now been rectified and promised to email media copies of data releases being uploaded to the app going forward to 7am Fiji time, so that they could verify for themselves the data was accurately reflected in the app.
At 7am provisional results stopped being released and the official count began.
No further provisional results were being released, and official results are expected on Sunday.
Reassurances for political parties?
Responding to a question from RNZ Pacific’s regional correspondent Kelvin Anthony about whether he had any reassurances for political parties that might be concerned about the app malfunctioning, Saneem replied: “Well, none of the political parties are at the results centre.
“So, we believe that they have full confidence in the system.”
Saneem stressed that manual data entry had not stopped while the app was down, and that the counting process was well under way and would continue throughout today.
The Supervisor of Elections also wanted to make it clear that data reloaded onto the app for the restart of the provisional results roll-out was from a different set of polling stations than the one released at 9pm last night, hence the difference in the data sets.
The first results released at last night had shown the People’s Alliance Party in the lead with 2600 votes over Fiji First’s 667 votes.
The new results released at the relaunch of the app around 2.30am Fiji time showed FijiFirst leading with 65,949 votes over the People’s Alliance Party who had 50,348 votes, with 531 of 2071 stations counted.
“It’s not the exact same polling stations that we had initially uploaded. But this is 531 sets of data that has been pulled by the laptop,” Saneem explained.
“We will email all the media, the result management system print out in a PDF format for you to be able to verify that the data that is on the app against the provisional results – by party – that has been printed out by the result management system,” he said.
Fiji uses an open list proportional electoral system with the whole nation voting as a single constituency.
This year nine political parties are contesting 55 seats in the country’s unicameral Parliament.