Outside voting completed


VOTING for the Bougainville referendum for non-Bougainville residents throughout Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Australia have been completed, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says.
“Ballot boxes from the three regions – Southern, Mamose, New Guinea Islands – as well as Australia (Cairns and Brisbane ) and Solomon Islands (Honiara and Gizo) are arriving and are expected to be secured in Port Moresby on Thursday for dispatching to Buka for inclusion and counting,” he said.
Gamato expressed satisfaction that referendum voting in PNG was a success and was peaceful across the provinces.
He said there were some hiccups when some voters could not locate their names on the roll but that were addressed.
“As PNG Electoral Commissioner and an ex-officio member of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC), I would like to assure Bougainvilleans in the 20 provinces who cast their historical votes that your votes are now safe and secure and will be included for counting,” Gamato said.
“Teams tasked to conduct polling in PNG have followed due voting processes, procedures and guidelines set out by the BRC in conducting polling.”
Gamato said all the ballot boxes received from the 20 provinces, Australia and Solomon Islands had gone through quality checks before they were locked away in a container.
Meanwhile, the 33 ballot boxes sent out for polling outside Bougainville which included PNG, Australia and the Solomon Islands.
Thirty ballot boxes were sent to PNG for the 20 voting districts, one ballot box each for Australia and Solomon Islands and one ballot box for postal votes.
In PNG, 24 teams and their ballot boxes including election materials had returned to Port Moresby while six more teams, all from the Highlands provinces, would return their ballot boxes by tomorrow due to flight delays.
For the Highlands region, ballot boxes for Eastern Highlands, Hela and Enga arrived in Port Moresby yesterday. Due to the flight cancellation in Mt Hagen yesterday, ballot boxes for Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Chimbu were expected to arrive in Port Moresby today.