Quality education determines outcome

Editorial

MUCH has been said about educating voters to be better informed so they know who to vote for when election time comes.
Researchers say most people in PNG cast their votes for the candidates they think is mostly likely to help them directly, their families, or their village.
Despite the much published campaign to vote on party policies and look out for personal traits in a candidate in the last elections, it was obvious that the trend of localised or penalised benefits votes took place and it will continue in the next election in 2022.
The only way to move away from that is through quality education from the urban to rural schools.
The issue on quality education must be addressed immediately by all concerned authorities so at least the next generation of voters or those voting in the next two elections understand what party policies mean, what to look out for in candidates, and vote without fear or favour.
Relevant authorities and the public have spoken out airing their concerns on the trend of voting for localised or penalised benefit.
Those who are endorsed by political parties are using the campaign period to outline their policies or platforms.
They explain what their party stands for and how they will deliver as individuals when they are elected into Parliament.
Then we also have those who are running as independent candidates who also have their target list of things to do when elected.
The majority of voters in this county are the rural majority which means they will either be illiterate or semi-literate.
Most policies turn out to be similar with the ultimate target of delivering service to the people.
The high number of informal votes could mean a lot but the main reason would be the voter does not understand the voting system.
Despite the awareness of the limited preferential voting (LPV) system, many still do not understand that the LPV voting system allows three choices for the voter.
The law requires that under LPV, the winning candidate must get 50 per cent + 1 of the formal votes cast in the electorate.
Understanding the counting rules will also assist in understanding how a winner is determined and help you cast your vote wisely.
In the LPV system, there are two distinct parts to counting votes.
The primary count is the first part.
This refers to the first preference vote or vote 1 that is counted first.
At the end of the primary count, they must determine if a candidate has received 50 per cent + 1 of the first preference votes to be declared the winner.
The target is to ensure the number of informal votes gets lesser and that can be achieved through quality education.
Realistically, it will take more than just talking through awareness, seminars and roadshows to achieve the change in mentality on this issue.
Like in previous editorials, the educated elites have the chance now to make a change.
They have the chance to reach out to the rural population and educate them on the electoral process.
If there is no education, be rest assured that the voting trend of casting votes for candidates who they think and know is mostly likely to help them directly, their families or their village will happen again.
And the trend will continue if nothing constructive is done.

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