By HELEN TARAWA
THE country will likely use during the 2022 general election an electronic voting system successfully implemented by India, and copied by other nations, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
“The electronic voting system is the way to go so that we can have fair and free elections in our country,” O’Neill told Parliament yesterday.
“Since Independence, the election process has been giving us a lot of challenges, and it is in everyone’s interest that we conduct this election in a fair and free manner so that people can have their say in how their leaders are elected into Parliament. We have been looking at this electronic voting system for quite some time,” O’Neill said.
He said the Indian government successfully conducted its elections involving between 700 million and 800 million people “voting at the same time, and results coming out in a matter of days”.
“With that experience, we thought we can adapt the technology owned by the government of India. They have similar partnerships with some countries around the world.” A team of Indian electoral officials, at the invitation of the Government, was in Port Moresby to set up the system in the State Function room at Parliament House.
“We were able to see how the election process was conducted and how successful it was done,” O’Neill said.
Further, a Government team led by Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato recently visited India to “witness first-hand” their election process, and discuss adapting their system in PNG.
“We are committed to that and awaiting advice from the Electoral Commission,” O’Neill said.
“Our aim is to start the implementation process, especially getting the voter registration system this year. We don’t wait until the last year to update the common roll, (with) all sorts of ghost names (on it).
“It is important that we start early so that the integrity of the system is tested, and that people have confidence in the system we are going to introduce.”
National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru had earlier called for the National Identification (NID) project to be fast-tracked so that all voters could use their ID in the 2022 general election.
He warned that “those who don’t have an ID won’t vote in the (2022) election”.
By HELEN TARAWA