By HELEN TARAWA
PAPUA New Guineans start going to the polls for General Election 2022 (GE22) from today to July 22.
A total of 9,905 polling stations, comprising 11,066 polling booths, have been set up in the four regions – Highlands, Mamose, New Guinea Islands and Southern – covering 375 local level governments and 7,023 wards.
The first to cast ballots today are voters in the 15 provinces of Hela, West Sepik, East Sepik, Madang, Morobe, East New Britain, Manus, New Ireland, West New Britain, Bougainville, Western, Central, Gulf, Milne Bay and Northern. (See chart for polling dates of other provinces).
Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai said: “We aim to complete polling as soon as possible for counting to start and for election writs to be returned by July 29.
Sinai said July 29 was the deadline for all writs to be returned and “it cannot be delayed”.
“Polling schedules have been printed and the electoral rolls have all been sent as sensitive materials together with the ballot papers and indelible inks to the (22) provinces.
“All the provinces should, by now, have completed quality checks of all the ballot boxes, labelled according to the numbering of the provinces and team kits,” he said.
“Today (last Friday) is the final day of campaigning and election preparations and the election motion is in progress.
“We have completed the preparations for GE22.
“The electoral roll, ballot papers, polling team kits have all been shifted to the provinces. All training for the polling officials and returning officers have been conducted and appointments of all returning officers have also been completed.
“We have completed the requirements at the headquarters and now we have shifted the work to the provincial administrations, election managers, returning officers and assistant returning officers in the local level governments (LLGs).
“We have come up with the final polling schedules although there are number of things that caused the delay.
“Basic information is collected in the province starting from ward levels to LLGs, district and headquarters in Port Moresby.”
By HELEN TARAWA