1312 5.4 million eligible voters estimated to enroll for 2017 elections

An estimated 5.4 million eligible voters are expected to be registered on the electoral roll for the 2017 National Elections. Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says the Commission has dispatched a total of 750,000 new enrolment forms (Form 11) nationwide to all the 22 provinces to conducted enrolment work to update the roll based on projected increases in each ward, local level government area and district.

In 2007, a total of 3.9 million eligible voters were captured on the roll. In 2012 a total of 4.7 million eligible voters were registered on the roll against a PNG population of 7.1 million as per the 2011 National Census - an increase of 837,257 eligible voters.

"Prior to the current roll update exercise, the 2012 roll was cleansed towards the end of last year (2015) of duplicates, ghost names, underage voters and deceased voters."

"Therefore, PNG Electoral Commission expects a marginal increase of about 5.4 million eligible voters to be registered on the roll for 2017 elections," Gamato said.

He said that in 2012 elections of the 4.7 million eligible voters registered on the roll, 3.7 million voters (73%) actually voted.

"In the 2017 elections, PNGEC is forecasting that out of the estimated 5.4 million registered voters, about 4.1 million or 4.2 million eligible voters would actually cast their votes," he said.

Meanwhile, common problems currently encountered by enrolment teams in the field while trying to update the roll include people not responding to the roll update exercise; enrolment forms issued were used up by transfers and not new enrolments resulting in the shortage of enrolment forms to register new voters; people having difficulty reaching or finding enrolment locations; poor response from urban areas compared to rural areas; and poor weather conditions preventing teams from covering areas as planned.

Mr. Gamato said that people who voted in 2012 do not register this time their names will still be on the roll unless their names were not on the roll in 2012 and they used somebody else's name to vote.

He pointed out that if voters have moved to a new location then they must see PNGEC's enrolment agents to correct their details on the roll.

"This is important because their names will still be on the roll but in their previous location and would spoil their chances of voting in 2017 in their current location."

"Voters who moved within an electorate or to another electorate in the same province or to another electorate in a different province in the last six months or more must see our enrolment agents to correct their location details."

Mr. Gamato explained that these are called transfers-in and transfers-out who are existing electors but have only move locations due to new place of residence, employment, natural and man-made disasters, displacement due to development and resource project sites like mining, logging and fisheries.

In terms of logistical assistance from Australia and New Zealand, the Electoral Commissioner said PNGEC has completed the National Logistics Plan and discussions are currently underway at high level (ministerial) for assistance.

"At this stage I cannot disclose any information as yet until proper indication on support is expressed by both countries (Australia and Zealand)," he said.

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