Thursday 29 April 2021
The Government is committed to creating a better voting process for the 2022 General Election amidst COVID-19, including biometric voter registration.
Prime Minister James Marape announced this at a press conference today after a meeting with Governors, Ministers, Members of Parliament Acting Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning and other stakeholders.
“Next year’s election will be conducted in the presence of COVID -19 in the community.
“Something that we might use to clean up the voting process is biometrics, and an electoral roll that registers electronically, with photographs attached for all our voting population.”
Mr Marape said this process would be looked into by the Electoral Commission..
The electronic-based voter update was trialed at a council ward in Kupiano (Central Province) and reported to work very well.
“We will try to expand this in a big way.”
Mr Marape is hopeful that this technology would be used next year so that block voting or group voting, a normal practice in general elections in Papua New Guinea, would be stopped.
“This is something that my Pangu-led Government wants to give to the country: A better voting process for 2022.
“We will work with the Electoral Commission to ensure that a COVID-safe voting process is developed.”
PM Marape said voter registration and identification would commence in the second half of 2021, following the 2021 Census.
He encouraged all eligible voters to participate in this exercise as biometric voting would be the way of the future.
“We’ll start with an electronic voter identification process at the very earliest.”
Mr Marape also announced that election planning would be bipartisan and involve the Opposition “so that everyone knows what is coming and we have a fair place to compete for public office in 2022”.