3110 Schools Voter Enrolment Program launched in NCD

The NCD Electoral Office officially launched its schools voter registration program today for all secondary schools and tertiary learning institutions in the nation's capital. Acting Deputy Commissioner Simon Sinai launced the enrollment program at the Gerehu Secondary School premises this morning inside the school hall packed with students, PNGEC staff, international partners, enrolment agents and media.

Gerehu Secondary School was proud to have its grade 11 student Darrol Yori, 19, from Gulf province to be the first student in PNG to be officially registered by the Electoral Commission to vote in the 2017 elections.

More than 500 other Gerehu Secondary School students of the legal voting age of 18 were enrolled following the launching at the school hall. Provisional enrolment of those students who are 17 years old in 2016 but will turn 18 on polling day were also registered.

Officiating at the launching acting Deputy Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai on behalf of the Electoral Commissioner and PNGEC acknowledged the overwhelming support given by all the secondary schools and tertiary institutions in the National Capital District in supporting the registration of school students who are of the legal voting age of 18 years old and above.

"I am indeed humbled by this overwhelming support and I am sure this kind of support from schools not only in NCD but also throughout the country will certainly go a long way in making our elections more inclusive and accessible to all citizens," he said.

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DARROL YORI, 19 years old from Gulf province is a Gr. 11 student at Gerehu Secondary School in Port Moresby. Yori has officially become the first student to be registered by PNGEC under its Schools Enrolment Program for students of voting age in secondary schools in PNG currently being spearheaded by NCD Electoral Office. He is pictured signing his Claim for Enrolment Form (Form 11) witnessed by the enrolment agent (seated) as well as the school principal Martin Kenehe, Acting Deputy Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, Moresby North West Returning Officer Moka Havara and NCD Election Manager Terence Hetinu.

Sinai told the students that in order for them and those citizens of legal voting age of 18 and above to actively participate in the democratic election process in Papua New Guinea, you must first register your name on the Electoral Roll.

"The significance of getting your name registered is that: If your name is not captured on the Electoral Roll; you will not be able to exercise your democratic right to cast your vote in the 2017 national elections and have a say in who represents you in the National Parliament."

"My strong message, therefore, is this: If your name is NOT on the Electoral Roll; you will NOT vote in the upcoming 2017 elections," Sinai said.

The 2017 elections program will be set in motion in about four months time from now when the Governor General issues the writs on April 20, 2017 to signal the official start of the elections.

Sinai said that in preparation, ​PNGEC is now updating the Electoral Roll nationwide in the next three months to register new enrollments including you students who are 18 years and above as well as those voters whose names were not registered on the Roll for the 2012 elections.

"I must point out here that students are among the voting population in PNG who has been mere “spectators” of elections for a very long time since the first elections in 1977."

"Other groups of citizens that have also become “spectators” of elections are the working class population in our towns and cities, people living with disabilities and other marginalized and disadvantage groups like the women, the old or elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS."

"The Electoral Commission in recent times have been doing all it can to ensure all citizens actively and fully participated in the election process."

Sinai told the students that PNGEC has put in place mechanisms or strategies to capture the names of all eligible voters so that our elections are inclusive and accessible and election outcomes reflect the true wishes of the voters through the ballot box.

He said that to cater for the student voting population, the Electoral Commission is conducting “provisional enrollments” of students who are 17 years old this year but will turn 18 on polling day in 2017.

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"If you are 17 years old this year 2016 and will NOT turn 18 on polling day in 2017 then please do NOT register your name because you will not be eligible to vote under our election laws."

"Therefore, if you are turning 18 on polling day in 2017, I strongly encourage you to register as provisional enrolment with your correct details, especially your date of birth to our enrollments agents who will be visiting your school in the coming weeks."

"Students who have already turned 18 this year must make it your business and responsibility to enroll your name."

The NCD Electoral Office has already trained 90 enrolment agents two weeks ago to conduct schools voter registration in NCD and they will now come to your respective schools to register your names for inclusion the 2017 Electoral Roll after today’s launching.

Sinai, therefore, urged students in secondary schools and tertiary learning institutions throughout NCD to cooperate with our enrolment agents and give your correct details so that you don’t get disappointed on polling day.




ALPHONSE MUAPI
Media Consultant

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