Extra counting centres open in Mendi


Election officials in Southern Highlands have set up two extra counting centres for the regional seat at Momei Oval in Mendi to accelerate counting.
Deputy election manager Grace Wong told counting officials at the counting venue yesterday that the plan to count at night and create the two additional booths was to speed up the process of counting the regional ballot boxes.
She said that as of Wednesday afternoon when counting was suspended, there were 162 ballot boxes and she is expecting counting to continue.
“Time was catching up so to fast-track the counting, we had to find alternatives which were adding two more counting venues and also increasing the number of counting officials.”
Wong said people would not be happy with the decision to count at night as it would trigger many allegations and accusations but it necessary to speed up the process.
She said counting officials and scrutineers must understand that security personnel did not receive their allowances and they could not be forced to stay for extra days in Mendi as they needed to return to their families.
“The delay was because of scuffles between counting officials and scrutineers but that has been resolved peacefully and tension has been defused. It’s not all about speed but also accuracy in counting,” she said.
Security has been beefed up and the movement of people in and out of Mendi has been restricted since Wednesday.

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