Flaws in Electoral Roll: Report

An Australian National University observation report conducted in the 2017 National elections has indicated that the flaws in the electoral roll significantly affected the quality of the electoral process.

The report stated that the 2017 elections did not improve on the 2012 elections. The 2017 observations made in all four regions and in National Capital District (NCD) with a mix of urban, rural, open and provincial electorates observed.

These include in 69 of 111 electorates with detailed study of 44 electorates (33 open and 11 provincial) and detailed observations at 945 of the 10,825 polling stations nationwide.

According to the report, “the 2017 elections witnessed a marked deterioration in the overarching election environment.

Serious irregularities, including voter intimidation, personation, underage voting, multiple voting and proxy voting, were identified to a greater or lesser extent.

Electoral misbehavior and malfeasance, as noted in relation to both the 2007 and 2012 elections, continued to flourish in 2017, facilitated in large part by the poor state of the electoral roll”

Moreover, the report highlighted that many citizens were not provided genuine opportunity to register to vote.

Also, many citizens were not provided reasonable opportunity to inspect the electoral roll prior to or during the election.

Furthermore, it said: “The poor state of the 2017 electoral roll created such angst, disaffection and disenfranchisement that it influenced almost every other aspect of the election”

On the other hand, Prime Minister, James Marape says the PNGEC will use data from the 2011census to update the 2017 common roll for the coming national elections.

The experience of the recent Moresby North West by-election, where many eligible voters missed out points to the credibility of the 2017 roll.

Freddy Mou