By Malum Nalu
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says the commission is obliged by law to conduct postal voting for citizens, including those living overseas.
In response to queries on whether the commission would conduct postal voting for citizens living abroad, as well as those living in the country but would not be in their electorates at the time of polling, especially fly-in and fly-out employees of resource projects.
Gamato said the commission was getting the Foreign Affairs Department to submit a list of Papua New Guineans living overseas who were eligible to vote.
A senior commission official, however, said it may be too late to conduct postal voting as it was only three weeks to voting time.
Gamato said there were seven categories of electors whom postal voting applied to. They were:
- Those who would not be in the electorate during the polling period;
- Those who would not take part in polling on religious grounds like Seventh Day Adventists;
- Women electors approaching maternity or caring for their infrants;
- Those who were seriously sick in the house or hospital;
- Those who were travelling away from their residence;
- Those who were not within 16km by the nearest polling place in the electorate where they were enrolled; and
- Those citizens living abroad.
“By law, electors can apply for postal vote certificate, ballot paper and candidate poster,” Gamato said.
“When that is done, a returning officer may, together with a postal vote certificate and an allot paper under Section 100 of the Organic Law on National and local level government elections, forward to an elector who has applied for postal vote certificate and postal vote ballot paper.
“A candidate poster may also be included by the returning officer to assist the elector, who may not be familiar with candidate names and codes.
“A postal vote certificate and declaration by an elector is to be made in Form 6.
“Electors making wilful false statements in the declaration carry a liability of two years’ imprisonment.”