THE application period for postal voting in the Bougainville Referendum closes at 4pm today.
By law, postal voting is allowed for those more than 16km away from any polling station, or for health reasons meaning they cannot reach their polling place during the polling day provided for their ward.
Chief referendum officer Mauricio Claudio said more than 200 people had applied for postal votes.
“Postal voting is a first for the PNG electoral processes. It’s a way to make the casting of votes as accessible as possible to all registered voters,” he said.
“Postal voting is legal, safe and secure. The BRC will note on the roll that a voter has been issued a postal vote. The voter fills in a declaration which is signed and witnessed, and those voters will not be able to have an ordinary vote issued during the polling period.
“The BRC has gone above and beyond with our enrolment process, and we are now offering postal voting for the first time in PNG’s history. There really is no good reason that Bougainvilleans should not be able to vote during the referendum,” Claudio said.
Once postal voters have received their kit, they will have until end of the polling period (6pm, Dec 7) to deliver completed postal votes.
Any enrolled voter can apply for a postal vote so long as they meet the following criteria:
- Being more than 16km away from any polling booth during the polling period (this includes polling booths set up outside of Bougainville, in PNG, Australia or Solomon Islands);
- being seriously ill/infirm/disabled, about to give birth or caring for a young child; and,
- Holding religious beliefs that prevent them from attending a polling booth to vote.
Applications for postal voting can be made by using the BRC application form or in writing.
The application form, polling schedule and further information is available on the BRC website.