Manus audits figures

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 9th, 2012

ELIMINATION counts for the two seats in Manus province underwent an audit over the weekend.
Counting was suspended last Friday morning after candidates and scrutineers petitioned the Electoral Commission, claiming the verification process was not followed.
They made serious allegations against the provincial election officials.
Two officers from the Electoral Commission flew into Manus on Saturday and met with scrutineers, candidates and election officials.
It was later agreed that an audit be made and that counting officials closely associated with the two sitting members of parliament be removed from the counting process.
That did not go down well with some supporters who maintained most of the counting officials involved were related to the candidates in the two seats.
Provincial electoral manager Parkop Posangat said they began the re-count at 8pm on Saturday.
He said those candidates who had been eliminated were put back into the tray as counting started from the first preferences.
Posangat said the process was at a snail’s pace and by noon yesterday, they had completed the recount for 15 of 18 candidates in the regional seat and 18 of 21 candidates.
He said after this was done, counting proper was likely to start yesterday evening or today.
However a reliable source in Manus said the re-count revealed numerous discrepancies made during counting by officials.
Some of these included ballot papers of other candidates found together with those of other candidates and there were many informal votes included.
The source said security personnel were now very strict on all counting officials, checking them thoroughly before they entered the Sahat counting hall.