By Rebecca Kuku
and Lulu Mark
POLLING in Hela began yesterday with Prime Minister James Marape voting in his Paibali village, hoping to retain his Tari-Pori seat.
Assistant Election Manager Anna Pame said there were 275 polling stations in the province.
“All ballot boxes were inserted into the main centres and then transported by car to the polling sites,” she said. Pame said the 275 polling teams were at the polling stations with security officers.
There were no major security incidents reported.
Provincial police commander Inspector Robin Bore said members of the police Quick Response Force were on standby “in case any security issues arise”.
Marape said polling was conducted peacefully although there were hiccups to logistics, such as helicopters arriving late.
Marape said helicopters had to be used in remote areas where there were no roads to transport ballot boxes and officials.
“The logistics was not organised properly,” he said.
“We had helicopters coming in late.”
Marape urged provincial and district administrations throughout the country to support the work of the Electoral Commission until the return of writs.
He said the campaign period nationwide had concluded “on a good note despite one or two incidents”.
“Fortunately for Hela there were no substantial incidents,” he said.
Marape thanked the people for allowing the process of democracy to flow smoothly.
He said the political parties were out in force staging strong campaigns.
18 wards, 2 electorates ballot papers reprinted: EC
EIGHTEEN wards and two electorates had their ballot papers replaced on June 16, after the Electoral Commission received the third batch of ballot papers from the Australian government, an official says.
Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai said the wards affected were in Enga and Eastern Highlands.
The two open electorates are in Bougainville.
“The 16 wards in the Kandep rural local level government had their ballot papers reinstated and reprinted, Ward 21 in Wakumare, Wabag in Enga, and Ward 14 of Tunukau, West Okapa in Eastern Highlands had additional ballot papers supplied,” he said.
The two electorates in Bougainville are in the North and Central districts.
Sinai said the reason for reprinting ballot papers for the Kandep wards was because of the incorrect names on the pad covers.
For the ward in Wabag, it was because of the boundary with Kompiam-Ambun.
He said Ward 14 in Tunukau also had a shortage of ballot papers because of a mistake during a roll update exercise.
He said the reason for supplying extra ballot papers for the two electorates in Bougainville was the inconsistency in the electoral roll data received from the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner in June.
“We identified a shortfall from the 2017 electoral roll and an addition of 10,500 generic ballot papers were printed to supplement the ones already printed,” Sinai said.