FORMER Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says it is an exciting time for Papua New Guineans as the country goes to the polls for General Election 2022 (GE22).
O’Neill, the Ialibu-Pangia MP, said yesterday that an estimated five million people would have the opportunity to cast their votes and have their say in how PNG would be led over the next five years.
“This next parliament will oversee PNG during our 50th year of Independence and it is crucial we have a government in place that can steer our country in the right direction,” he said.
“I hope all can cast their vote peacefully and without fear of intimidation.
“There are worrying signs around our nation that the election has been very poorly prepared for and interference seems rife.
“I hope the good officers of our security forces at all levels can ensure we have free, fair and safe elections.”
Crowded … Voters lining up to cast their votes at Markham Road Primary School in Lae yesterday for the one-day polling for urban centres. There was no distancing from one another as people crowded around the polling booth. Levi Bata, who is in his third general election as a scrutineer, said he was concerned with how close individuals were together as he said this could see voter intimidation take place. Morobe’s assistant election manager Fredah Joses also said this was not how they trained their officials for the general election.
– Nationalpic by LARRY ANDREW
Returning officers challenged
SOUTHERN Highlands election manager Alwin Jimmy says the successful outcome of General Election 2022 (GE22) depends on the honest performance of returning officers (ROs) and assistant returning officers (AROs).
He said the ballot boxes and papers belonged to the people of Southern Highlands and they were appointed to facilitate and make sure people were given the best result at the end.
He was speaking to them at Kiburu Lodge in Imbonggu during the ROs and AROs week-long training on Thursday.
“Sometimes candidates and people do not trust us, some will say this RO or ARO is with this particular candidate, but despite these kind of rumours being spread, we have been appointed already so let us deliver a successful election.
“ROs and AROs must sit down together and appoint polling officials and the lists will be sent to Port Moresby.
“The officials appointed must come from the LLG wards, not from other areas.
“They must know the people and people must know them,” he said.
Jimmy said the electoral roll was already in the province and if some polling areas had not been gazetted or had problems due to tribal fights or other problems, it was the work of the ROs and AROs to have those organised so that no one misses out.
He said election awareness was carried out by assistant election manager Grace Wong and her team before returning officers were appointed and before polling, and returning officers must continue the awareness.
He said the returning officers must clarify things but they should not address people in public places as the Organic Law did not give them the power to do so.
No extra ballot papers for mistakes, RO tells voters
MOROBE’S Huon-Gulf elections returning officer David Wasinak is reminding voters to be sure of their choice when going into polling booths to cast their ballot papers.
“There will not be any replacement of ballots if you make a mistake in picking your choice of leaders,” he added.
Wasinak said the ballot papers for General Election 2022 (GE22) were printed according to ward registrations.
“Any mistake by a voter which requires a new ballot paper will cause an imbalance in pairs for the open and regional papers.
“Ballot papers, generally, are based on the voter ward registration we have.
“There are no extra papers.
“So, we have emphasised to scrutineers and candidates to inform voters not to make mistakes.
“Voting is not a new thing.
“Everyone should be acquainted with the process and procedures.”
Wasinak said fewer mistakes would also contribute to faster counting.
He said ballot paper distributions and security personnel deployment to all four local level governments were done over the weekend.
He reminded voters about the limited preferential voting (LPV) system which gives every voter three choices for a leader.
“So there should be no reason to fight and quarrel,”he said.
“Let the process take its course.”