NEW BRITAIN BALLOTS LOST AT SEA

By Elizabeth Vuvu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 5) - The boat ferrying a polling team holding elections in Sinivit local level government area of Pomio, East New Britain capsized in rough seas on Wednesday, leading to the loss of all the ballot boxes and ballot papers.

Polling team No.25 had already conducted polling at Kavudemki, Tol, Masarau and Marunga and was traveling in a motorized dinghy towards Karong to conduct election on Wednesday morning when their dinghy overturned. All the team members managed to swim to safety. However, polling materials which included ballot boxes and ballot papers were lost at sea.

East New Britain provincial electoral manager Abraham Wari confirmed the incident yesterday, saying that one standby team would be flown to the area by helicopter today to help the team. He added that the standby team will re-conduct polling at Kavudemki, Tol, Masarau and Marunga, while Team 25 will begin polling at Karong and finish off at Illi. This he said this meant that people in Kavudemki, Tol, Masarau and Marunga who voted last Saturday will have to vote again. He asked for their understanding.

Mr. Wari said they were currently sorting out for extra regional and open ballot papers to be allocated to the standby teams. He said his office was working to ensure that the elections in the area do not suffer further delays.

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