Trawen: No electronic counting this year

Main Stories, National
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The National, Tuesday 24th January 2012

THE much-praised electronic counting system, which was trialled in at least four by-elections, will not feature in this year’s general election.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen has blamed a budget shortfall of K60 million for this.
The PNGEC submitted a budget of K240 million to conduct the 2012 elections but was allocated K180 million, a short fall of K60 million.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen said the K60m shortfall would mean the commission would have to do without some of its activities for the 2012 elections.
He said as a result the electronic counting system that was trialled in the Rai Coast by-election, Kandep by-election, ABG elections, North Bougainville by-election and Kundiawa by-election may not be implemented.
The system was hailed a huge success and candidates, scrutineers and supporters supported its use.
They wanted it to be implemented in 2012, saying it was transparent, fast and minimized human error and disputes in counting ballots, required less manpower and saved costs.
But for the electronic counting system to be implemented the commission will need laptops, projectors, projector screens and scanners, which the commission claims it does not have money for now.
The PNGEC received K180 million out of a total K330.514 million with the balance being distributed to the police (K105.120 million), defence force (K35.776 million) and the Correctional Services (K9.6 million).
Police in East New Britain have submitted a K2.7 million budget to carry out election operations.
The force said the money would mainly be to acquire new resources such as vehicles, firearms and communications equipment.
East New Britain provincial police commander Sylvester Kalaut said they hoped funds were not delayed any further and provided soon for preparations to start.