A Melanesian Spearhead Group observer team says all polling stations it visited in Papua New Guinea’s election had too many incidences of names missing from the common roll. The MSG observers have issued an interim statement, as the vote counting stage of PNG’s lengthy election is underway across the country. It said “the 2017 PNG National Elections were fully embraced by PNG citizens, even though it presented many challenges”. In all the polling stations that were visited by the seven MSG observers, the voters were described as “excited to participate in the election” but many found their names had dropped off the roll, or not been added.
The statement, which also noted instances of double voting with concern, was the precursor to a final detailed report with recommendations to be released later.
“We noticed and acknowledge that the absence of an official voter identity card made it difficult for officials both to ascertain and to ensure that no one under 18 years was voting as well as to prevent the urge for double voting,” read the statement.
Voter identification, the MSG said, remained a major issue for both voters and officials and its determined resolution would greatly assist in the transparency of the entire election process.