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Eastern H’lands enters night mode to speed up counting

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By ZACHERY PER
COUNTING for the Eastern Highlands regional seat will continue through the night to complete the 630 ballot boxes.
This follows a petition by candidates presented to election manager Steven Gore Kaupa to speed up the counting of the regional votes so that the provincial governor is declared before the scheduled return of writs.
Extra counting officials will be recruited and more space will be allocated in the counting venue to achieve this.
Speaking on behalf of the regional candidates, Dr Banahare Bun said only five boxes had been completed since counting started last Sunday.
He also said there were supposed to be only 641 ballot boxes but another 32 boxes came in.
They wanted the provincial returning officer to explain that to them.
“We fear that the current rate of counting would go well past the date for the return of writs (on July 24).
“The candidates demand extra manpower for counting and a venue to distribute ballot boxes and to count the ballot papers at a much faster rate,” Bun said.
He said if additional funding was required, the provincial government should provide it.
The candidates also asked for the removal of a senior election official because he was a close associate of a candidate.
“We want him removed because he is likely to have a conflict of interest,” Bun said. Kaupa said the issues raised would be addressed in order to speed up the counting.

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