Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says most polling should have been completed by July 23 or tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24.
“There are minor or isolated incidents reported but generally polling and counting is progressing well.”
Gamato outlines the progressive report on polling and counting by provinces as follows:
Polling completed yesterday (July 22) and some LLGs completed counting as well. Remaining wards will be counted today (July 23). In Talagi LLG in Hela Province, where the killing of 23 people occurred, polling progressed well. According to the Returning Officer, John Tipa, they have completed all their polling and the 15 ballot boxes have been returned with the last one to be completed today, Tuesday, July 23. They will start counting in Tari and should complete by Thursday.
Commissioner Gamato has expressed his gratitude and commended the people of Tagali for taking ownership of the Tagali LLG election.
“This is attributed to good and strong awareness and education campaign conducted by the Election Manager John Tipa and his team that went into Tagali LLG to speak to the people.”
Polling completed on Monday. Minor issues were encountered in few wards and these wards were revisited. Counting to commence later today. Polling in all the wards have progressed well in Kandep Rural LLG. There was an incident in a ward in the Kompiam/Ambun district where a dispute over a ballot box resulted in a fight in which a girl was shot. Police have been deployed to control the situation.
- Eastern Highlands
Polling is completed in five electorates and counting commences today.Kainantu polled today (July 23) and Obura-Wonenara goes to the polls on July 24 due to flight delays.
Polling was completed yesterday in all districts and counting was expected to have commenced midday today (July 23).
Polling was completed in two electorates. Insertion was done today for Jimi Open electorate. Counting was to have commenced for completed electorates around midday today.
- Western Highlands
Polling completed on Monday. Counting was to have started today for some electorates.
- Southern Highlands
Polling and counting were done simultaneously today (July 23); however, all the wards that were having problems will be transferred to the provincial capital, Mendi, for counting.
- Morobe Province
Polling is progressing well in Bulolo, Markham, Huon Gulf and Nawaeb districts. Polling should be completed today and counting to begin as soon as possible. In Lae, there were minor incidents during polling at Five-Mile, Boinamo, Boral Gas and Talair compound, which were brought under control. Counting has started and should be completed on Thursday. For Siassi LLG in Tewae-Siassi district, the Assistant Returning Officer died on the evening of Friday, 20 July, while picking up the election materials and funds in Lae.
The Electoral Commissioner has appointed Daniel Koro, elementary trainer to replace the deceased ARO to conduct the LLG election in Siassi LLG. There are 20 wards in Siassi LLG. Training for polling and counting has been completed and the officials are waiting for election materials and funds to go out and do polling.
Morobe Provincial Government has allocated some funds and chartered a helicopter to drop off the election materials on Siassi Island. Polling and counting should start over the weekend.
In Morobe LLG, the polling team for the ward nine capsized because of rough seas. All ballot boxes containing ballot papers were destroyed. Generic papers will be flown to Lae today and delivered to Morobe LLG for re-polling over the weekend. There are 1310 voters so generic papers will be issued for ward nine in Morobe LLG.
The Electoral Commissioner has thanked the Chairman of the Morobe PESC for responding quickly to support the LLG elections in Siassi and Morobe LLGs.
Polling is progressing well with counting to start today, Tuesday, July 23, according to Returning Officer Daisy Hombagani.
Three teams from Kira station and three teams to Moro airstrip at Safia LLG are still waiting to be airlifted by a fixed-wing on Wednesday. For coastal wards in the Northern Province, the South-easterly winds have affected Tufi and Tamata teams who travelled by sea. Some wards in Tamata, Kokoda and Afore have already completed polling and counting and done declaration but due to communication problems, they cannot be reached.
- New Ireland
According to the Returning Officer, Annette Bais, polling is progressing well. The only challenge is the outer islands due to strong winds and bad weather conditions. Counting should start immediately after polling for those wards which are accessible.
NIP Government has requested for one-day polling and the Electoral Commission has allowed that so it is expected that most of the wards should have completed and declared the winning candidates.
Polling and counting are progressing well with minor issues and challenges. These issues and challenges are manageable according to Returning Officer, Peter Malaifeope. A team in Rigo District went missing while crossing a river but they were later found. They are now safe and are continuing to conduct polling.
Gamato said overall reports from the Highlands indicate a generally peaceful election with minor isolated incidents.
He said there were some obvious logistical difficulties encountered by Bosavi LLG in SHP, Jimi in Jiwaka, Karimui LLG in Simbu and Obura-Wonenara electorate in EHP, adding that these were all to do with fixed wing aircrafts and choppers which are beyond PNGEC’s control.
Other provincial reports are still coming in.
Polling and counting should be done by Thursday, July 25, for the writs to be returned to the Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Pila Niningi, on Friday, 26 July, to officially conclude the 2019 LLG elections.
Meanwhile, Gamato has met with the Secretary for Treasury, Dairi Vele, requesting funds to pay allowances for Temporary Election Workers (TEWs) engaged in the LLG elections and Vele has assured him that funds will be released this week to pay the TEWs.
The Electoral Commissioner has therefore assured all polling and counting officials nationwide that their allowances would be paid.
“Your allowances will be paid but I encourage that you must first complete your returns and get the relevant electoral forms containing results to be properly signed off and witnessed by scrutineers and returned before you are paid your allowances.”