He said when Parliament adopted the Electoral Boundaries Commission report in its last Parliament session in May and voted for creation of seven new electorates and have them certified to be included in the 2022 national elections, the ballot papers had already been printed based on the initial request to cover 111 electorates.
“Therefore, we had to seek Australia's assistance again through the Australian High Commission to cater for the increase in the number of Parliamentary seats and to reprint the ballot papers for seven affected electorates and seven new electorates.
“The Australian Government through the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby have taken on board our request and we appreciates the opportunity to work the Australian Electoral Commission on this vital election activity,” Sinai said.
The affected electorates include:
- Komo-Magarima in Hela Province,
- Laigaip-Porgera in Enga
- South Fly in Western Province,
- Kairuku-Hiri in Central,
- Sohe in Oro,
- Wau-Bulolo in Morobe and
- Talasea in West New Britian.
The new electorates are:
- Komo-Hulia, Porgera-PaieIa,
- Delta Fly,
- Popondetta, Wau-Waria and
Commissioner Sinai said the ballot papers for the affected electorates that were delivered to Port Moresby on the 3rd and 4th April this year are securely locked away in a container and will be destroyed on Saturday 2 July before polling on Monday.
The ballot papers will be destroyed in the presence of the media, security personnel and other key stakeholders including officials from the Australian High Commission.
“Let me assure our international partners and particularly the Australian Electoral Commission that the ballot papers that were delivered earlier to Port Moresby for the seven affected electorates are kept safely and will be destroyed before polling.
“We have about 1,305, 000 ballot papers that need to be destroyed,” Sinai said.
The Commissioner said any rumours and speculations that these ballot papers are already in the wrong hands to hijack the election process is not true and should be disregarded as the Electoral Commission is the custodian of those ballot papers and will be appropriately disposed.