Ating yu pilim swit
Has Australian opportunism compromised our northern shield?

Roll confusion: The chaos that is coming to our polling places


I HAVE a copy of the common roll of my electorate. It is 183 pages long and the names of eligible voters are listed under council wards not in village groups.

The common roll would be more sensible divided into villages and family names listed alphabetically. Our roll is mixed up and this will be the first problem when villagers turn up to vote. There will be a lot of angst when people find that they cannot vote in their village groups.

The first part of the day will be wasted on organising people. And, in rural communities, the day starts when the sun is overhead; if it is a cloudy day, they wait for the sun to come out.

The second problem is finding the family name. The list creates a dilemma because the father is listed under his surname and the wife and children are listed under their father’s first name, which in their case becomes a surname.

Apart from this confusion, most of the spellings are different to what is spoken. In my language, the letters ‘r’, ‘g’ and ‘j’ are not used so a person taking down names and using these consonants in subsequent pronunciation would make glaring mistakes.

Logically, villagers must cast their votes village by village and family by family.  The confusion of the current roll will only encourage vote hijacking and block votes like at the last election. Some stressing times are coming.

At the last election in my electorate, there were 6,000 voters. Now there are 4,900 voters. The new voting population has been left out, and some of the former names by the look of it.

How this happened I don’t know but it means there will be a lot of unregistered voters - at least 1,000 in my language group. The young ones will be troublesome.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

It might be worth looking at block voting.

As Baka suggests it is possible that some villagers prefer that method so as not to have to endure the rigmarole at the ballot box of finding a name on the electoral role.

If it was done in a controlled way at the village level - a sort of pre-ballot ballot - it might work. The difference for the candidates would be bribing voters en masse against bribing voters individually, hardly significant.

Paul Oates

In the days when Kiaps visited each village at least annually and sat down with the people, the Village Electoral Rolls were the Village Census Books that were updated every year.

Clearly that practice has been discarded.

Ed Brumby

A worrying analysis, Apo and a useful insight into the challenges of compiling voter rolls in PNG and how they can be manipulated and corrupted.

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