Our responsibility to enrol and confirm

Letters, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 4th, 2012

THERE seems to be no thorough investigation by our journalists, but simply sensational reports from citizens which may or may not be true.
For example, the Post-Courier (June 27) had a report on voters who missed out with a photo titled “Where’s our names?” of Daday Ving with unhappy relatives as their names were not on the roll.
Surely, the Post-Courier could afford to buy a copy of the rolls and its reporter could then see that Mrs Ving is on the 2012 rolls at the same place she was in 2007, which was Ward 11 Gerehu stage 2.
So, only Willie Babaga could vote?
What about the other 28 Babagas – Clera, Leslie, Olive in Ward 2, or Alex, Bonita Rai, Wisser in Ward 3, etc?
The reports about John Momis or Bart Philomen’s daughters not being on the roll may or may not be true.
On the same day, The National had an article headlined “ESP can­didate angered over omission of names” which explained the chaos.
As the officer responsible for the election in the district, the returning officer (RO) said “he only facilita-
­ted the enrolment process, but did not add or remove names from rolls”.
He said the ward rolls were done by two persons from each ward un­der the supervision of councillors.
They went through the objection period after the first printing and la­ter finalised it in Port Moresby before it was sent back to the districts.
Provincial steering committees are generally responsible for re­commending the appointment of returning officers.
They are on the ground and have better insights than a very small Electoral Commission (EC) with only an election manager in a province.
Returning officers hire and train teams, led by councillors that are responsible for updating the rolls.
The teams’ work is then sent to
the EC to process and because the commission is not on the ground,
it can only process what it receives from teams.
So if anyone wants to complain about not being on the common
roll, they should find out who did
the update in their areas.
But before they do this, they should ask the one person who is ultimately responsible for enrolment – themselves.
For the more than 60% of literate citizens in the country, did they complete and sign an enrolment form?
Did they check whether their names were on the roll when the
preliminary rolls were displayed?
Or did they just expect it to be magically done for them?
Let us stop trying to create mischief by blaming the EC and the electoral commissioner.
The system may have problems, but let us look at our own actions and those of our media, who have an even greater responsibility to report the truth and not fail to check facts.
Cries that the election should have been delayed so that the rolls are properly updated would just mean the continuance of a flawed system.

Ayape citizen
New Zealand