Bougainville 2015 Elections Update: Polling in Bougainville completed now the count

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‘The counting will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,

Mr. Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7

Mr George Manu -Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville

Story By Tanya Lahies Photos by NEW DAWN

Polling in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) has completed in all 33 constituencies and counting to start on Wednesday 27 May

According to the Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville, this year’s election in Bougainville is the first to be conducted by Bougainvilleans alone without supervision from the electoral office in Port Moresby.

Polling in general which started quietly had steadily picked up momentum with the message of polling reaching far and wide in the region and to other voting areas outside in Port Moresby, Madang, Lae, Goroka and Rabaul.

Otherwise, there were some obstacles encountered. An issue highlighted was the missing of names of certain voters who complained when trying to vote. But the commissioner provided options to solve the reoccurring problem. Voters who did not find their names while polling in their constituencies where advised to check special polling sites for Bougainvilleans in Bougainville (BiB) in Buka, Arawa and Buin.

In general, Mr George Manu continued to affirm the people of Bougainville on a daily basis that the ABG general election was quiet and peaceful.

This year, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) strongly supported the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) with providing trainings of the scrutineers including the media about the elections, processes and legal aspect.

Governance and Implementation Fund (GIF) also made funding available to transport the ballot boxes from Australia to Buka. The media, private and mainstream from bougainvillenews.com ,Post Courier, New Dawn Fm, NBC Bougainville and online particularly FB pages have also played an important role in disseminating information to the vast majority of the population. The Police sector also contributed to the elections awareness, which teamed up with local band Anslom Nakikus and his group during the earlier peak of the elections.

Tomorrow now sees the counting that will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). “We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,” Mr Manu declared at the media conference today.

Mr Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting.

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7, Mr Manu said.

Counting the Votes

For the 2015 ABG General Election, counting of the ballot papers will be held at three regional count centres:

  • Hutjena High School, Hutjena – counting for the Presidential seat and the North regional and constituency seats
  • Sharp Memorial Centre, Arawa – counting for the Central regional and constituency seats
  • United Church, Buin – counting for the South regional and constituency seats
  •  On the first day, Tuesday 26 May 2015, the counting officials will open the ballot boxes in order to sort the ballot papers by type. This is so that when the counting of the ballots occurs, they are already grouped together.
  •  The counting officials will then go through the ‘reconciliation’ process, which checks that the ballot boxes contain the correct number of ballot papers.
  • Following this, the scrutiny of the preferences will begin. The first sort involves the ballot papers being sorted into piles based on their first preference. The pile of votes is then counted to determine the number of first preference votes each candidate received.
  • The candidate who received the least amount of first preference votes is then ‘excluded’ from the count, meaning they are no longer in the running to win the seat. The ballot papers for the excluded candidate are then sorted based on their second preferences. So these additional ballot papers add to the number of votes the other candidates have won.
  • At the counting centre
  • The process of counting is complex and takes time. It is important that each step is followed correctly to ensure that the candidate who wins is the candidate that was voted for. This means the process takes time.
  • The counting will take place around the clock with multiple shifts of counting officials each day. There are a number of groups inside the counting centre:
  • Note: The exclusion of candidates continues until one candidate either receives the Absolute Majority, or only two candidates remain in the count. Following either of these, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. The Activity: Understanding LPV provides guidance on how the exclusion process works.
  • Note: At this point, if a candidate receives the Absolute Majority, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. If not, the exclusion process commences.
  • Presidential ballot papers will be packaged up and transferred to the Presidential counting centre.
  • The Special Votes (the votes in the envelopes) will then be examined to identify whether the ballots are eligible to be included in the count.
  • How counting takes place
  • The below process is followed for each constituency, regional women’s, regional former combatant and the presidential elections.
  • Counting officials- with the responsibility of sorting and counting
  • Returning Officers- managing the counting officials, with overall responsibility for their area
  • OBEC advisors- a group of Australian and New Zealand advisors will be there to provide support and guidance following a request for support from the Acting Electoral Commissioner
  • Scrutineers- one scrutineer per candidate can be at the counting centre to watch the process and provide quality assurance by alerting the Returning Officer if they see anything of concern
  • Observers- international and domestic observers who are there following an invitation by the Acting Electoral Commissioner to observe the process as part of a commitment to transparency

 

  • Meanwhile, in support of the counting publicity and dissemination of information, the media in Bougainville is well prepared for the two weeks. While NBC Bougainville, New Dawn fm and the ABG mobile Radio Ples Lain will report from Buin, Arawa and Buka, other media personals from Post Courier will also ensure that information reach the majority of the eligible voters and spectators. Other media personals outside of Bougainville and from abroad will also participate in covering this significant period.

 

  • “I encourage all Bougainvilleans to continue working cooperatively with OBEC officials and the Bougainville Police Service to make this election, free, safe and fair,” Mr Manu urged.
  • This year’s election will also introduce a formal Electoral Dispute Resolution Process with the support from UNDP. The process will give any enrolled candidate, voter or scrutineer the opportunity to complete a form regarding any complain they may have if they believe that a violation of the electoral law or other laws has occurred, Mr Manu added.

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