Last Chance to Enrol

The Bougainville Referendum Commission is encouraging all eligible Bougainvilleans to check the Preliminary Referendum Rolland make sure they are enrolled to vote where they intend to vote.

Starting Friday in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville,Ward Recorders have begun displaying the roll for inspection, correction and objections until 26 September. Outside Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, the roll will be on public display at PNG Electoral Commission provincial offices from 11 to 20 September. The roll will also be displayed for a few days each in the four special locations in PNG and overseas.

Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said the Commission was once again calling on Bougainvilleans to be active and take full ownership of the process.

“Phases 1 and 2 showed historic levels of engagement from Bougainvilleans. Thousands got themselves enrolled, transferredor helped us remove the names of the deceased,” Mr Claudio said.

“Once more, we are calling upon people to support this undertake the final quality checking step,” Mr Claudio said.

“If you are eligible and want to vote in the November referendum, now is the time to check the roll, see your Ward Recorder or BRC official, and help us create a credible, trustworthy referendum roll,” Mr Claudio said.

Elections in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea do not always provide for public inspection, correction and objections of the voter list ahead of polling.Under the Organic Law[1], a 4 Kina refundable fee is required to lodge an objection against the name of anyone on the Preliminary Roll. This will be refunded where the person is found to be not eligible.The purpose of the fee under the law,and not a BRC decision, is to prevent frivolous or non-genuine challenges to names.

While the Commission will provide provisional ballots to those enrolled but voting in another location, it is encouraging people to be enrolled in the location they plan to vote.

“Anyone on the final Referendum Roll, will be allowed to vote, butto make sure your name appears at the polling centre you intend to vote at, now is the time to checkand transfer,” Mr Claudio said.

“One of the key reasons the two governments provided a six-week extension was to allow for this three-week display in Bougainville, and shorter periods outside the region,” Mr Claudio said.

The Chief Referendum Officer said 27 September, the issue of Writs, marks the closure of the roll to new voters and any changes.

“We are now asking people to check the roll and tell us if we’ve got it right,” Mr Claudio said.

The Preliminary Referendum Roll enrolment numbers are as follows(provisional numbers only):

  • Autonomous Region of Bougainville                      190,254
  • Outside Bougainville in PNG                                      11,505
  • Overseas(Australia and Solomon Islands)             269

Dates for the public display are as follows:

  • Autonomous Region of Bougainville: 6-26 September, all Wards and Regional Centres
  • Elsewhere in Papua New Guinea: 11-20 September, all PNG Electoral Commission provincial offices. Public display will also be available at Lihir, Ok Tedi and Pogera mines, and Ramu Plantation for a few days each (dates to be confirmed).
  • Australia: Cairns 16-17 September, Brisbane 19-20 September at PNG consular offices
  • Solomon Islands: Gizo 16-17 September (location TBC), Honiara 19-20 September (PNG High Commission)

The Chief Referendum Officer thanked in advance the many people working hard to make the enrolment of Bougainvilleans a success.

“While the BRC remains an independent, neutral body –conducting operations is absolutely a team effort. We are working with Community Government administrations and Ward Recorders, the PNG Electoral Commission, and overseas diplomatic missions in Australia and Solomon Islands,” Mr Claudio said.

[1] Organic Law on Peacebuilding in Bougainville and Referendum