Funding issues hinder electoral roll update: Gamato

Lack of funding support by the national government has resulted in the electoral roll not being updated for the 2019 Local-Level Government elections.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said this, in turn, resulted in a good number of voters being turned away at polling places, thus denying their democratic right to actively participate in the election process to elect their LLG assembly representatives.

“While we (PNGEC) accept blame as the election management body of PNG, I equally would hold the national government responsible for not providing the necessary funds to enable the Commission to update the roll in 2018,” Gamato said in a statement.

The LLG elections were supposed to be held in 2018 but delayed until April 2019.

“The government did budget K100 million but did not release all the funds so PNGEC could not do roll update nationwide in 2018 in preparation for the LLG elections in 2019.

“PNGEC used its limited funds to have the 2017 electoral roll displayed for objection.”

He was responding to media reports and concerns raised by Governor for New Ireland Province, Sir Julius Chan, and some electors throughout the country blaming the Electoral Commission for failing to update the electoral roll, resulting in many electors missing out on voting in these LLG elections.

Gamato pointed out that after the 2017 national election; PNGEC has taken initiatives which included the use of technology to strengthen the voter enrolment process and verification on the electoral roll.

“PNGEC is working closely with the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) on amendments to legislation (election laws) to introduce the biometrics system.

“With the introduction of the biometrics system, PNGEC aims to strengthen the voter enrolment process as well as polling and counting with the use of electronic voter machines (EVM).

“A public tender notice will be put out in the coming days, calling for expressions of interest from competent and reputable ICT companies to supply the biometrics voter registration system to PNGEC.”

In the meantime, about 3,495 ward elections, which is 50 percent of the total 6,369, are completed and the results are now coming in to the PNGEC headquarters in Port Moresby. 

Manus, Hela, Simbu and Western Highlands Province have completed their LLG wards elections and Gamato expects more results to come in before the end of the week.

Press release