Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, said it had identified large groups of Bougainvilleans up to 1,000 living and working at remote areas who have been unable to reach their provincial PNG Electoral Office, but were eligible to enrol.
The Commission has identified Lihir Island; Ramu, Madang; Ok Tedi Town and Porgera as the four largest communities it had the resources to reach.
“Bougainvilleans living in these areas, despite their remoteness, are strongly engaged in the referendum,” Claudio said.
The Commission is currently working with Bougainville associations, community leaders and employers in each of the four remote locations to provide for a few days for enrolment. It encouraged people to check the Commission’s Facebook page and media for information.
“Despite the previous enrolment extension, we are still getting information that Bougainvilleans have not yet enrolled and we urgently encourage them to go to their provincial PNG Electoral Office in the provincial capital,” he said.
“While everyone wants a good referendum roll, all parties including the BRC are keen to see the referendum vote take place as soon as possible. We are balancing both these demands, to deliver both an inclusive referendum and credible referendum.”
The Commission’s first estimates are that approximately 9,000 enrolment forms have been completed outside Bougainville, while an intensive and extended village by village process within Bougainville has seen nearly 50,000 new forms completed – however these would all need to be checked and verified, and some were still being transported back to Bougainville. The original 2015 Election Roll had 174,000 enrolments.
“We have been delighted by the response of Bougainvilleans, both in Bougainville and outside Bougainville, who have never enrolled to vote in an election before, now putting their name on the referendum roll,” Claudio said.
“Thank you to everyone who has been active to get themselves to an enrolment location. It is now the task of the Commission, through our three AROs and regional officers, to go through all forms, quality check, data entry and then cross check all names.”
A preliminary Referendum Roll will be on public display in all Wards in Bougainville.
“People will have one last chance to check their name, correct misspellings and add their name if it’s still not on the roll. It is our strong desire to use these people for Bougainvilleans to tell if the roll is good, and make any final corrections and additions to ensure all and only eligible voters can vote on polling day.”
For anyone in Bougainville not yet on the roll, go to your BRC regional centre in Buka, Arawa and Buin – check if you are already on the roll, and if not, fill out an enrolment form.