Quick counting saves time: Sinai

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PAPUA New Guinea (PNG) Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai says the counting of ballots are being conducted at polling centres to save time.
“We are conducting General Election 2022 (GE22) according to flexibility and making best of the situation to complete the counting of ballots to meet the deadline (July 29) for the return of election writs,” he added.
“If you want to be a politician, you have to count the cost, you cannot expect the Electoral Commission (EC) to fit into your favour.
“Follow the EC, do not come up with your own ideas and do things your own way.
“Now we have no time, we want to centralise all our operations. When you concentrate, you are consistent, when you break all these things, it will be difficult to reconcile and start all over again,” he added.
“People out there think they can run elections.
“I will go, someone else will come and run it and we will see how competent they are and how they can control the interests of the people, the level of politics and deal with the intellectuals of the country.” he stressed.
Sinai said the EC had done what it could but another reason for the delay was the death of a political leader, former deputy prime minister Sam Basil.
“Without the political parties there is no election.
“A political party leader dies so we have to give due respect for a week. We have to respect their participation and the role they play.
“We will see which electorate fails after July 11 or 15 onwards, even after July 29.
“Only then we can see, nothing is perfect in any organisation.”

Three LLGs in Morobe yet to begin polling

Bulolo District Disability chairman Gibson Seseru (in wheelchair) being assisted by his caregiver Eugene Sio to place his ballots into the box at Kabriman compound polling booth in ward 4 of Bulolo urban in Morobe. – Picture courtesy of EUGENE SIO

THREE local level governments and a district in Morobe are yet to start their polling due to logistics, late funding and other issues.
Morobe election manager Simon Soheke said polling for Wasu and Siassi in Tewae-Siassi district, Wau-Waria’s Waria LLG and Finschhafen district will start polling tomorrow (Thursday).
“Ballot papers and boxes for Wasu and Siassi were airlifted to the LLGs this (yesterday) morning,” he said.
“They will have their polling officials briefing and start polling on Thursday.
So they’ll have time for polling and will take their boxes back to Sialum for counting.
They will be three days late according to our provincial schedule.
“Polling materials for 12 teams of Waria LLG went in late, so they would also poll late.”
The materials were flown into Garaina yesterday for today’s polling.
These were the last for districts to be dispatched.
Otherwise, everyone is ready and are into polling.”
Soheke said Mumeng started their polling yesterday.
He said polling in Finschhafen had not started yet.
“It was supposed to start today (yesterday) in some areas of Hube but I have decided for polling to be stopped until the issues of security, and assistant returning officers (AROs) are resolved.
“Polling will start anytime this week in Finschhafen.”
Soheke added that some LLGs in Kabwum and Menyamya were still waiting for a helicopter yesterday to dispatch polling materials from the district headquarters to polling sites.

Manus to expect polling to start today

DESPITE logistic challenges and other issues Manus is prepared and looking forward for polling which is expected to start today, an official says.
According to acting election manager Tony Balema, the polling was supposed to commence on Monday but due to the late arrival of funding for logistics and material, polling had been deferred to today.
Balema said yesterday that, despite the delay they were well prepared and looking forward to the polling.
He said the province’s 131 wards were prepared along with their 38 polling teams.
“Our first day of polling will start tomorrow (Wed, July 6) and will end on next Tuesday (July 12) so we have only five polling days, therefore I am urging all eligible voters to be at your respective polling sites to vote,” he said.
“We have updated all data for the common roll in all wards in the province and I believe we will not face any issues regarding this.”
Balema said funding for the logistics came on Friday and were sorted over the weekend.
He said all polling teams had been deployed to their respective polling sites.

Bad weather hinders start of polling in Milne Bay

BAD weather has prevented polling in most electorates of Milne Bay, forcing a day’s delay, an official says.
Provincial returning officer Ivan Maraka told The National that materials had arrived late for Esa’ala, Kiriwina-Goodenough and Samarai-Murua due to bad weather.
Polling had started a day later for the outer islands as well as the Daga hinterland, and Suau, while Alotau Urban and nearby communities started polling on Monday.
Maraka said polling in Daga and parts of Suau in Alotau district had been delayed.
He said due to logistical issues, the materials for Daga were still in Alotau to be airlifted.
Maraka said polling in Yeleyamba, Losuia, Murua, Kiriwina, Goodenough, Suau, Dobu and West Ferguson started yesterday.
“Most of these areas are in the outer islands and due to bad weather materials were late arriving at the polling stations,” he said.
“The teams have all started polling today (Tuesday) together with Weraura, and Makama in Alotau district.
“Our only concern is Daga because they are the hinterlands and access is by plane,” he said.
Maraka said since the plans to airlift the teams and materials by chopper had been cancelled, they were looking at organising a third level airline into Agaun.
He said the polling officials had already walked with police personnel to Agaun and were awaiting the materials.
Maraka said they were optimistic that polling for all electorates would be completed by July 11 and the ballot boxes returned to Alotau for counting to start right away.
Meanwhile, Maraka said one of the main concerns in the polling stations he visited was people without names on the common roll.
“We have advised our people without names on the common roll that we couldn’t do much as it was a matter for the government and the PNG Electoral Commission,” he said.