Informal ballots shock Madang poll officials


Count 18 for the Madang regional seat raised eyebrows when 2434 informal ballot papers for Yawar local-level
government (LLG) in Bogia where discovered.
The ballot papers were not signed by the presiding officer but each one of them was marked as “T#17 PO”.
There were five ballot boxes for count 18, two were for a designated polling team 17 for Yawar LLG and other three were for mobile team 17.
The first two boxes were counted separately and three for the mobile team were later opened and poured on the sorting table where 2434 other ballot papers were.
There were 3381 ballot papers in total of which 2424 were informal and 957  formal.
Many scrutineers and counting officials found the situation odd  and the scrutineers wanted to find out which candidate would receive most of the votes from those ballot papers.
According to deputy election manager Justin Pantumari, who was running the counting, the ballot papers were not sorted out to various candidates but counting officials focused on the signature of the presiding officer.
“There was no signature of the presiding officer but only `T#17 PO’ was written at the back of the all those ballot papers so we considered them all as informal,” Pantumari said.
According to crowd reaction outside the counting centre, they wanted the presiding officer of the mobile team to be brought from Bogia to the counting centre to explain why he wrote ‘T#17 PO’ instead of signing them.
Pantumari said the presiding officer should have signed the ballot papers, write his name or put his initial.

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