Bougainville Referendum voters can now check the polling schedule to find out where and when they can vote.
Polling will commenceSaturday 23 November in some urban centres and remote locations, with the majority of polling scheduled to take place between Monday 25 November and Friday 29 November.
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said the schedule was developed according to the number of people enrolled in each wardand aims to make polling as smooth and as fair as possible.
“Polling will not be open for the full two weeks in every location, but for a few days to a whole week, depending on the number of people enrolled in that area.”
The polling schedule was gazetted in Bougainville on 17 October and is now available on the BRC website – http://bougainville-referendum.org/polling-schedule/
“People need to now check where and when polling will take place so as not to miss out on casting their vote,” Mr Claudio said.
The Commission earlier this week opened applications for postal votingfor those who can’t get to a polling place during the polling period.
Postal voting allows for people tovote if they are travelling away from home, or if their health or mobility would otherwise make it difficult for them to get to a polling place.
“As with every process, we will ensure the safety, secrecy and security of each step so the final result is seen as a credible one that everyone can trust,” Mr Claudio said.
The Returning Officer can vary the polling schedule if it is impracticable to adhere to it – for example due to bad weather or natural disaster.
Eligible voters may now lodge an appeal or objection to the BRC regarding the polling schedule if they have concerns over the accessibility or security of polling locations.
Queries and concerns can be raised either with respective Assistant Returning Officers or BRC Regional Coordinators which will then be directed to the Referendum Returning Officer, John Sisiesi.
The Chief Referendum Officer said the Commission has strived throughout the referendum preparations to be inclusive, transparent and professional.
“Making the polling schedule available a month ahead of polling is another important step. As always, the process requires people to be active in getting themselves informed, or telling us if changes need to be made,” Mr Claudio.