Ballot boxes arrive from outside polls


BALLOT boxes from out of Bougainville have been returned safely and securely to Bougainville.
The materials arrived in Buka on Friday afternoon in the custody of Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) assistant returning officer (ARO) Simon Soheke, who was accompanied by police officers, observers and scrutineers.
The 33 ballot boxes and materials, from Bougainvilleans living outside Bougainville were used for polling in PNG provinces and four special work sites, as well as Australia (Brisbane and Cairns) and the Solomon Islands (Gizo and Honiara).
Chief referendum officer Mauricio Claudio said the ballot boxes for non-resident Bougainvilleans, as with all 249 ballot boxes used in the referendum, had remained locked by special numbered seals since polling began on Nov 23.
“Security is one of the four key principles of the count centre process – all ballot box seals are checked against the numbers recorded in the journal to ensure all seals are intact,” Claudio said.
“This is done under the presence of BRC officials, the ARO, scrutineers, observers and the media.”
The newly-arrived ballot boxes have been stored securely at the PNG Electoral Commission in Port Moresby since the end of polling after being checked by the ARO and put under lock and 24-hour security, he said.
After arrival at Buka airport, the ballot boxes and materials were transported directly to the count centre for checking and registration.
All ordinary ballot boxes have now been received at the count centre.
On Saturday, the ballot box for postal votes and the final box for the northern region were sealed and taken to the count centre after 6pm, marking the official close of the polling period as specified in the referendum writ.