Delay forces NCD to count day and night, says officer

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 9th, 2012

COUNTING for all seats in the National Capital District will be on a 24-hour basis.
Election manager Cyril Retaw said this was to cover for lost time last week caused by officials protesting against the non-payment of allowances.
A number of candidates had petitioned the Electoral Commission to conduct polling only during the day alleging that foul play and other illegal activities occur at night.
But Retaw brushed aside the allegations.
“These allegations are not new,” Retaw said.
“They always surface during election time.”
He said whether counting took place during the day or night, the candidates need not worry because each of them would have scrutineers in the counting venue.
“There are people watching the counting, scrutineers and security officers will be there.”
He said allowances for the election officials had been paid and 1,300 officials would count the 330 ballot boxes in all the seats.
Retaw said counting for Moresby South would take place at the Don Bosco Technical College, Moresby Northeast at the Sir John Guise Stadium and Moresby Northwest at the PNG Institute of Public Administration hall.
He said ballot papers for the NCD regional seat would be counted at the stadium.
Retaw said all ballot boxes would be counted according to their numbers with disputed ballot boxes kept aside.
He said the returning officer reserved the right to decide whether a disputed ballot box should be counted or not.
He said security would be tight at all counting venues. Mobile phones and bags are banned inside the counting areas.