Box missing, officer says

National, Normal

The National, Friday August 2nd, 2013


THE returning officer in charge of the recounting of votes for the Usino-Bundi seat in Madang says a box containing informal votes is missing.

The recount was ordered by the court after an application by candidate Peter Yama, who lost the seat to Anton Yagama during last year’s  general election.

Returning Officer Reitama Taravaru yesterday said he had searched everywhere in the containers in front of the Jomba police station but could not find the box.

He opened the locks in the presence of scrutineers at the counting venue but to no avail.

He said they were counting the box that held exhausted ballot papers and discovered that there was a miscount at Walium.

“Total exhausted ballot papers counted at Walium last year were 17,975. Now we discovered that the total ballot papers were 18,013, which means 38 ballot papers were not counted at the Walium counting centre,” Taravaru said.

He said the difference of 38 ballot papers meant that there was a miscount. He said this could have occurred because the counting officials were working under pressure at that time.

After count 40 yesterday of the exhausted ballot papers, Yama recorded 1,149 votes while Yagama had none.

He said that result was not final as they were yet to count the actual primary votes, including the eliminated ballot papers.

“This is not the final result as we were just reversing the counting process and figures will change as we go on,” Taravaru said.

He said primary counting might be completed by next Wednesday.