The National, Thursday 05th July, 2012
POLLING for the Markham open electorate in Morobe province is complete and counting is expected to begin on Monday.
Markham returning officer, Simon Soheke is optimistic of an incident-free counting period.
As of yesterday all completed ballot boxes were stored at the Mutzing police station except for seven boxes from Wantoat.
Counting will be at the Markham Valley Secondary School.
Preparations for counting are in full swing and scrutineers of the 26 candidates have set up tents around the police station to keep watch on the ballot boxes.
Training for counting officials will be conducted on Saturday and scrutineers will be instructed on Sunday.
Umi-Atzera LLG assistant returning officer Apollo Naian said his polling officials had overseen a successful polling period and he was confident they would ensure a smooth counting period.
Naian admitted that the officials had not been paid their allowances but were not overly worried as the returning officer was in Lae sorting it out yesterday.
He confirmed there were common roll hiccups but the majority of eligible voters in Markham were able to vote.
Naian said a contingent of 35 soldiers from Lae and Port Moresby, assisted by three Reserve policemen from Lae did an exceptionally good job in ensuring the elections in Markham were free, fair and safe.
“We don’t expect any problems during counting as Markham people are not known for violent behavior during elections,” he said.
There are three LLGs in Markham, with the most populous being the Umi-Atzera LLG and sitting MP Koni Iguan’s Ongawafa LLG, the least populous.
The other LLG is Leron-Wantoat.