By HELEN TARAWA
ELECTORAL Commissioner Simon Sinai says electorates which have completed polling should start the counting process straightaway.
Sinai told The National that electorates which conducted one-day polling, such as in Morobe and Hela yesterday, must start counting straight away.
He said there should not be any delay as they must meet the July 29 deadline for the return of writs.
“As long as they have organised themselves with counting materials, sorted out channels, polling boxes and completed the presiding officers’ reports, they should be ready to start counting,” he said.
Sinai said they hoped to complete most of the polling around the country by July 12 and 13.
The only delays he expects are the ones “caused by communication problems as they are out in the outlying districts and local level governments (LLG)”.
“We have asked them to centralise the counting centres but we have other centres that are facilitating the counting of all the boxes based on the LLGs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sinai said on the issue of missing names on the common roll, they must take into account that of the 5.7 million voters, 15 per cent reached the voting age between 2017 and 2022.
“That’s the kind of increased voting population that we have on record to date,” he said.
Sinai has urged the people to take ownership of the general election.
“People might think otherwise but let’s see how best we can do and deliver the General Election 2022,” he said.
Polling for Central to last five days
CENTRAL election manager Peter Malaifeope says polling in the province, which began yesterday, would continue for five days as scheduled.
He said 174 teams had been tasked to conduct polling.
“I have received reports from faraway places like Kwikila, Bereina and Abau that polling has begun for most of the electorates despite minor hiccups on the electoral roll,” he said. Malaifeope also received reports that some voters were disappointed that their names were missing.
“We should not blame one person,” he said.
“If the voters’ names are not on the roll, we are all to be blamed for that.”
But he said they would stick to the schedule by going straight into counting when polling ended.
“We start on Monday and finish in five days,” he said.
Big wards and villages such as Tubuserea and Porebada would have two days of polling.
“We will conduct counting for three electorates at Murray Barracks, while three would be conducted at the Correctional Service in Bomana,” he said.
“We expect to conclude counting by July 25.”
Gulf to start voting today after a one-day delay
By JAMIE HARO in Kerema
VOTERS in Gulf will go to the polls today after a delay in funding and the late sorting out of ballot boxes forced the postponement from yesterday.
Election manager Poevare Tore said election materials were to have been distributed to the 10 local level governments before yesterday.
“We were supposed to start on Monday (yesterday) but materials are yet to be sorted out and distributed according to our data,” he said.
Voters in Lakekamu-Tauri are expected to start polling at the Kerema Urban LLG today.
Voting will continue in the province for the next three to four days.
A total of 54 ballot boxes and 100,150 ballots have been allocated.
“As soon as we get the advance funding sorted out by the provincial treasury office, we will get everything distributed by Wednesday or Thursday before counting,” he said.
Tore, who is also the provincial Returning Officer, said two Returning Officers (RO) and 10 assistants would travel with the teams to conduct polling.
“If funding is delayed, our teams are expected to travel up to the mountains of Gulf and will walk to conduct polling in the rural areas,” he said.
“However, it might be impossible as walking will take days.”
Meanwhile, Tove has rubbished rumours about stolen ballot boxes in Kaintiba.
Scrutinisers find two ballot boxes containing duplicated papers
By CRETILDA ALOKAKA
POLICE have confirmed that two ballot boxes containing duplicate ballot papers were found on Sunday at the Sir John Guise Stadium – the counting site for the Moresby North East electorate.
National Capital District
Metropolitan Superintendent Gideon Ikumu told The National that scrutinisers found the two boxes when checking the container.
“The first set of boxes were numbered 1/11 to 11/11,” he said.
“But the scrutinisers discovered an extra box numbered 2/11.
“The second set of boxes were numbered 1/21 to 21/21 but the scrutinisers discovered another box numbered 22/21.
“The ballot papers are not the same as the ballot papers printed in Australia.”
Ikumu said the Electoral Commission had not explained how the two extra ballot boxes got into the containers.
He said the scrutinisers insisted that all ballot papers must be checked before they were locked up in the containers.
Ikumu said the election manager or an electoral commission official would have to explain to the scrutinisers how the extra boxes were in the containers.
“They will explain to the scrutinisers how, why and where did the boxes get (into the container),” he said.
Ikumu said if the scrutinisers and the candidates were not satisfied with the explanation, a criminal investigation would be conducted.
Moresby North East candidate Tania Bale said the two ballot boxes had been tampered with.
“When word got out, my team came down (to the stadium) and all the boxes were already out on display,” she said.
“We saw an additional box had been added to Ward 9 and Ward 12.”