International election observers have said problems with the electoral roll in Papua New Guinea that prevented thousands of people from voting are “widespread”. In its interim statement, the Commonwealth Observer Group called for an urgent review after the election to improve the accuracy of the roll. Elections are in their third week and while polling continues in a small number of areas, the counting of ballots has started in others. Thousands of people were prevented from voting because their names were not on the electoral roll, despite saying they had registered. The Commonwealth Observer Group sent teams to 12 provinces to monitor the polling. The group’s chairman, Sir Anand Satyanand, said his observers found the problem was “widespread”.
“The group was very disappointed to note that previous Commonwealth Observation Group reports that highlighted the need to address this issue of the common roll have yet to be implemented,” he said.
On polling day, the observers said most booths opened late, the distribution of ballot materials was not completed on time and some booths were given fewer ballot papers than the expected number of voters.