EHP, Chimbu want polls extended

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 24th, 2012

THE people of Eastern Highlands and Chimbu provinces are calling on Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to extend their counting days.
“We want extra days to properly complete the counting and elimination process of this election as they are an important component of the election process,” Kagl Herman, a community leader from Kunabau in the Kerowagi district, Chimbu, said.
Former first secretary for Governor Malcolm Smith, John Sari, who is now the campaign manager for Eastern Highlands regional candidate, Sir Barry Holloway, said it was not Eastern Highlands or Chimbu’s fault for the lateness.
He said the two provinces went to the polls very late following a delay by the Electoral Commission.
There should be ample time allowed for the two provinces to properly and comfortably complete the process, he said.
Sari said EHP was the last province commissioned to go to the polls and because of delays and hiccups in the upper Highlands.
He said polling started two days late because the Electoral Commission had not sorted out the allowances for the officials and because of the vastness of the land. Many ballot boxes arrived at the counting site two days late.
A spokesman for concerned leaders in Chimbu, demanded an extension of two days at least to allow for proper quality checks.
“If we are not given an extension then this election would not be fair, true and just to us.”
 he said.
Herman said they should not be rushed into returning the writs tomorrow (June 25).
Sari said counting officials were now racing to complete the 1,392 ballot boxes. The return of writs deadline is Friday.