The National, Monday 23rd January 2012
THE electoral roll update for the 2012 general election is on schedule and should be ready before polling begins on June 23, Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen said.
Trawen assured the people of Papua New Guinea that the Electoral Commission expected to release preliminary rolls in early February for public display and objections before they were finalised.
His response came after claims the roll update work was failing and it would not be ready in time for the
start of polling.
“The electoral roll update work is progressing well on a 24-hour basis, with the recruitment of additional data processing officers, roll auditors and checkers plus the purchase of additional 30 computers to speed up work,” he said in a press conference yesterday.
On claims that the elections would not be free and fair, Trawen said the election was everybody’s business and he appealed to everyone to “take ownership of the elections that they are free, fair and safe”.
He said the delay in enrolment of eligible voters in some parts of the country was caused by the untimely release of funding by Treasury.
“Had the funding for the electoral roll update work been released by the department in a timely manner or front-loaded instead of on a ‘piece-meal’ basis all field work in the provinces plus electoral data should have been completed by now,” Trawen said.
He said as of yesterday, 22 million voters had been registered in the roll-out of approximately 4.3m eligible voters for the 2012 election.
“That’s like half of the voters already registered and the remaining should be done in the next few weeks.”
The electoral roll updates for the regions and provinces are:
lSouthern region – electoral data entry has been completed and preliminary rolls printed and ready for public display and objection for NCD, Central, Northern and Milne Bay. For Western, electoral data for North and Middle Fly electorates were yet to be sent in for data processing;
lNGI – West New Britain has completed the electoral data entry and printing of preliminary rolls, while East New Britain and New Ireland have their data entry almost completed, with parts of preliminary rolls printed and ready for public display. Field work is still in progress for Bougainville, with data yet to be submitted for processing;
lMomase – preliminary ward rolls for East Sepik, West Sepik and Morobe are almost printed and ready for objection while electoral data entry for Madang is still in progress; and
lHighlands – Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Hela and Southern Highlands have parts of their preliminary rolls printed and ready for public display and objection while data entry is still progressing. For Jiwaka, Western Highlands and Enga field work is still in progress, with data yet to be submitted for processing.