PNG Electoral Commission: No Extensions For Polling Period

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Evidence of fraud allegedly discovered at agency headquarters

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 2, 2012) – There will not be an extension to Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) polling dates from July 6, as the operation is on target, chief Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen announced over the weekend.

And the Electoral Commission will undertake a post-election assessment of all aspects of the Electoral Roll to review and assess how to compile a better quality Roll for use in elections in PNG in the future and ensuring to improve the electoral system.

Trawen also announced last Friday that the Commission was investigating allegations of what might have gone wrong with the Electoral Roll.

He announced in his media briefing on Friday that there was evidence of the Roll being tampered with at the Headquarters, and the Commission was investigating; once complete, all those involved will face the full force of the law.

"Polling officially ends this Friday July 6 as per the 2012 election time table approved by the Governor General. There will not be any extension as speculated in reports," he said.

"I am also wanting to undertake a post-election assessment of all aspects of the Electoral Roll," Trawen said. "That assessment would include submissions from the public, candidates and political parties, civil society organizations, the media, observers and other stakeholders. The aim of the review will be to assess how we might be able to compile a better quality Roll for use in elections in PNG in the future, ensuring we continue to try to improve our electoral system.

"The Commission advises that anyone who finds themselves in this position should make contact with the Election Manager in their area to obtain an Application for Enrolment Form, and fill it in so they are on the Roll for 2017.

"I am pleased to receive reports that large numbers of people have been able to vote, and that their voting experience has been a positive one however, I am keen to undertake a post-election survey, across all Provinces if possible, to determine the public’s level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

"The Electoral Commission has invested heavily in advertising for the 2012 General Election, certainly more so than in 2007. Based on survey information it is clear that voters are more aware of limited preferential voting, democracy and good governance, how-to-vote, offences including multiple voting and the use of indelible ink etc.

"There are a number of lessons to learn, including the fact that data collection for the Census and enrolment for the General Election should be further apart.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that some thought they had enrolled to vote when actually completed their Census questionnaire. The Application for Enrolment Form is a 2 page form whereas the Census questionnaire is a multi-page multi-question form."

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