Common roll needs to be updated early

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
Governments have never solved the chronic problem of updating common rolls since the 2002 general election, says National Research Institute senior researcher Dr Thomas Webster, pictured.
He told the Papua New Guinea electoral laws review seminar in Port Moresby yesterday that this was despite recommendations from neutral international and national election observers.
“For reasons known to themselves, the national governments are not keen to provide funds in a timely manner to update common rolls in preparations for the elections,” Webster said.
“This has created many election-related problems like double voting, ghost names, inflated common roll and so on.
“The electoral commissioner said in 2002 that the roll had been inflated.
“Since then, nothing has been to done to fix up the roll.
“We have been having problems with the roll in the 2007, 2012 and 2017 elections.
“In fact the 2017 election was the worst one.”
Webster said the Government did not provide funds to update the roll in time.
“The Government is supposed to fund the update of the roll two years before the election,” he said.
“The way it is, is that funds are released six months before the elections.
“That is a very limited time to update the roll.”
Webster said that they were now making recommendation for the roll to be drawn up from the National Identification programme data base.
He said ample funding should be provided at least two years before the election for NID (national identification) office to update its data base and for the Electoral Commission to display and cross check the common roll.

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