By JAMIE HARO in Kerema
SENIOR citizen Anna Opi has voted in Kerema in four general elections (GEs 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017).
But yesterday, Opi was turned away because her name was not in the common roll.
“My name has always been in the roll for Ward One,” she lamented.
“This is the first time my name is missing.”
Opi complained to The National that she was denied her right to vote by the electoral officers who could not find her name in the common roll.
“I was only told that my daughters’ names were registered in the common roll,” she said.
“This should be sorted out.”
Opi urged the provincial electoral office to deal with the matter by cross-checking to confirm the names of locals who had been voting in the past general elections.
Elections manager Poevare Tore said they were using the updated list from 2016, which was also used in the 2017 general election.
“We then updated it in 2021 by including youths who have turned 18 and removed names of the deceased,” he said.
Voters began casting their ballots in Kerema yesterday, after a day’s delay.
Polling in Gulf will be from July 4-11.
Tore said polling which was initially scheduled to start on Monday had to be deferred to yesterday because they needed more time to sort out the ballot boxes and papers for the LLGs.
“We had security personnel to help us while we were sorting out the boxes and papers for the Urban Kerema LLG polling,” he said.
“We are running against time to get all the boxes to the other six LLGs to ensure that polling begins on Thursday or Friday and continue for the next three to four days before all materials are transported back for counting.”
Finschaffen electorate gets over 41,000 ballot papers
By GLORIA BAUAI
FINSCHAFFEN has received 41,250 ballot papers for General Election 2022 (GE22), Morobe assistant elections manager and Finschaffen Returning Officer Fredah Joses says.
“This is, however, slightly more than the total number of registered voters. We have 10 to 15 extra ballot papers. That is not excessive,” she said.
“If there are spoilt ballot papers, voter error, paper damage when voter is trying to cast their ballots, these extra papers will allow for a replacement.”
Joses said Burum-Kuat had the highest number of ballot papers distributed at 12,000 and Finschhafen with the lowest number.
“For eligible voters, refer back to the 2019 figures as the base roll and add 15 per cent to that,” she said.
Joses said all ballot papers, other necessary materials and police personnel had already been deployed to the district. “Burum-Kuat’s, however, arrived yesterday due to the availability of helicopter and other districts started their polling yesterday. Burum-Kuat will start today.
“We have also requested additional security personnel and their deployment is a matter for police to manage,” she said.
Villagers tried to stop voting over missing names
By AILEEN KWARAGU
A GROUP of villagers in Central tried to stop election officials from conducting polling on Monday after more than 2,000 names of eligible voters were not in the common roll.
The villagers from Tubuserea, the second largest village in the Hiri-Koiari electorate of Central, had to miss out on voting because of the problem.
Hiri council president Haoda Rogea said the villagers tried to stop election officials from conducting polling, demanding an explanation from the Electoral Commission on why their names were missing.
“The polling was delayed by candidates and scrutineers for half an hour,” he said.
Rogea said the first electoral roll for Tubuserea had 4,700 eligible voters. But when they checked on Monday, around 15 per cent of the names were missing.
“We had only 257 who voted on Monday and more than 1,000 by lunch time yesterday,” he said.
Rogea urged the electoral commission to seriously improve the updating of the common roll to avoid similar problems in 2027.
Hiri-Koiari Returning Officer Leo Ameua told The National they could only use the common roll supplied to them by the Electoral Commission.
“People have to be reminded that we are mandated to work under the rules and regulations of the Electoral Commission,” he said.
“If your name is not on the roll, then you cannot vote.”
Voters in Wau-Waria turned away, names missing in common roll
MANY people registered to vote in the new Wau-Waria electorate in Morobe were turned away because their names were not in the common roll, says Returning Officer Fidelis Harrisol.
Harrisol said it was sad to see that they could not elect the leader they wanted. “People fronting up at the polling station found out that their names were not inn the common roll and, thus, cannot vote,” he said.
Harrisol also said there was also a shortage of ballot papers in some polling stations.
“This is very serious,” he said.
“It is the right of the people to vote for the leader of their choice, but many were not given that chance. We are depriving them of their rights.”
Harrisol said the same issues cropped up in the other local level governments in Waria. “Many eligible voters there will miss out when polling starts in that LLG tomorrow (today),” he said.
He said 12 team of polling officials will be sent to the Waria LLG.
He also mentioned that security was a problem because personnel who were supposed to be there still had to sort out transport, fuel, accommodation and rations issues.
“We can’t help much in this regard as the funds we have are tied up with the polling and counting activities,” he said.