POLLING officials for the Kandep by-election are demanding that the Electoral Commission pay all outstanding allowances before counting could can proceed in Goroka.
Counting, which was expected to begin yesterday, did not start after aggrieved officials boycotted a counting briefing on Monday to instead present a petition signed by 62 polling officials.
The protest by Eastern Highlands politicians against the counting was another reason for the delay.
Provincial election managers from three provinces involved in the by-election, Peter Yasaro (Morobe), John Kari (Madang) and Michael Ekalia (Hela), raised concerns over the Electoral Commissioner’s apparent lack of appreciation of their services.
In protest, Hela and Morobe officials withheld their returns for the polling and want them to be paid before they submit the returns, while Madang submitted its
“We, the Kandep by-election officials, demand in the strongest terms for Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to immediately pay our outstanding travel and polling allowances before counting and other electoral process continues,” they stated.
They also want the Electoral Commission to apply the rates used in the recently concluded Komo-Margarima by-election to pay officials for the Kandep by-election.
They said polling officials were paid for only 11 days of the 21 days, and payment for 10 days was yet to be paid.
They called on the Electoral Commission to pay them as well as service providers who were providing them services.