Polling Kicks Off In Rabaul Electorate

People in Rabaul District of East New Britain Province crowded polling places to cast their votes, as polling in the province got underway today.

Rabaul Returning Officer, Babel Umri said the 18 polling teams were dispatched to the polling venues in the Kombiu, Balanataman, Watom and Rabaul Urban LLGs as per the gazetted polling schedule.

He said most of the teams were dispatched with limited election materials and presiding officers were forced to spend from their own pockets while the treasury office fast tracks payments.

These election materials include ballot papers for both the Rabaul Open and Provincial seats, electoral rolls, voting compartments, metal seals, inedible inks, candidate posters, and journals for presiding officers and other necessary stationary.

Mr Umri said many voters were complaining about their names missing from the Electoral Roll, however, were told by presiding officers and assistant returning officers that it was beyond their control and the Law states one cannot vote if their name was not on the roll.

Also witnessed at the polling venues today was the setup of two separate lanes for women and men, which is a first for this national election.

Most women that cast their votes today reported that in the past they have been denied their rights to vote and subject to intimidation and the introduction of election express lanes was a good initiative by the PNG Electoral Commission.

Mr Umri is optimistic that polling for Rabaul will be completed this week and he expected teams to stick to the Gazetted schedules.

“I have confidence in my four AROs and respective POs that they will conduct polling within the given time frame,” he said.

No major incidents were reported as police patrolled polling sites.

Loop Author