Fiji Elections Office app back online after glitch

The Fiji Elections Office app is back online now after a glitch late Wednesday evening forced the suspension of provisional results.

Supervisor of elections Mohammed Saneem briefed media in the early hours of Thursday morning 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 with two in particular receiving a boost of about 28,000 and 14,000 votes respectfully.

"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 now with the result management system data directly," Mohammed Saneem explained.

Mr Saneem reassured media that 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 can verify for themselves the data is accurately reflected in the app.

At 7am the provisional results will stop being released and the official count will begin.

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 Mohammed Saneem replied.

"Well, none of the political parties are at the results center. So we believe that they have full confidence in the system. And with that, I think we'll leave it to that."

Saneem did stress that manual data entry had not stopped while the app was down and that the counting process was well underway and would continue throughout Thursday.

The supervisor of elections also wanted to make it clear that the 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 on Wednesday night hence the difference in the data sets.

The first results released at 9pm on Wednesday had shown the Peoples 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 show Fiji First leading with 65,949 votes over the Peoples Alliance Party who had 50,348 votes with 531 of 2071 stations counted.

"At this point in time. I would like to say that 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.

"To ensure that the data that we publish remains Correct. From now onwards, the Fiji Elections Office will be periodically, before we update the app, 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 as against the provisional results by party that has been printed out by the result management system," Saneem 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 for 55 seats in the country's unicameral parliament.