by KELLY COOK
IT is often a misconception that elections are won in the campaign stage, candidate popularity, party popularity or great policies.
Just for arguments sake, take note:
About 10 million ballot papers where printed in Indonesia when we have around 8 million total PNG population?. Of this approximately 5 million or so are eligible voters to which approximately 4 million are enrolled voters? You do the math - why do we need extra 6 million ballot papers printed???
For those of us who have been within the systems and have had experience, we know that elections are won or lost on the following;
1). The issuing of Ballot papers - Ensure and demand from your Election Mangers that the exact number of ballot papers been issued to polling booths must meet the exact number of eligible voters at those locations...no extras period. If so ask why??
Take the exact number of ballot papers issued for each polling booth for you to cross check the number of ballot papers at the counting. Remember the case of William Skate Jr and the Electoral Commission in the NCD Regional Seat by-election after the passing of Sir William Skate? Demand that the exact number of ballot papers been sent out to the polling booths be made known to all candidates at your briefings.
2). Transporting of ballot boxes - How will the ballot boxes be moved? In tinted dark ten seaters?? If so demand that they be carried in an open caged truck for all to see and have scrutineers follow the boxers to their storage location. If the ballot boxers will be transported by air - demand that room be made for some scrutineers to be on board. Ask the same for ballot boxes transported by sea.
3).Storage - ensure that the ballot boxes are not locked away in containers but placed in an a see-through caged area when all can see the boxes. Boxes can be easily switched in container storages.
4). Police - ask which Police will be on duty at the polling, will they be local Police or will outside Police be brought in too? Again ask that Police vehicles be clear glasses and not to allow tinted glass vehicles be used in the elections.
5). Foreign Police presence - if foreign police police are brought into your area, ask the election officials as to the exact role this force will play and ensure that they exactly do that. Again ensure they use clear glass vehicles and no tinted glasses.
6). Counting - we are in the 21st century and I often wonder why we cant have mounted video cameras set up on all angles to cover the counting officials counting the ballot papers...in the event of suspected foul play, all we have to do is play the video back??
7). Be vigilant and don't assume the system is free from corruption and wont be tampered with. Keep your eyes wide open. This is to ensure that the extra 6 million ballot papers does not mysteriously appear in the counting???
This is where elections are won and lost in PNG. Good luck and may the real peoples choice prevail.