The Bougainville Referendum Commission is encouraging anyone who knows they cannot reach a polling place due to travel or poor health to apply for postal voting as soon as possible.
By law, postal voting is allowed for those more than 16kms away from any polling place, or for health reasons meaning they cannot reach their polling place during the polling days provided for their Ward.
“Since we announced the postal application service on 15 October, people who know they will be travelling overseas, or who are bed-ridden or infirm, have taken the opportunity to apply for a postal vote,” Chief Referendum
Officer Mauricio Claudio said.
“Postal voting is legal, safe and secure. The BRC will note on the roll that a voter has been issued a postal vote. The voter fills in a declaration which is signed and witnessed, and those voters will not be able to have an ordinary vote issued during the polling period.”
Postal voting applications close at 4pm on 22 November, however with the logistic challenges of reaching people in remote areas, the BRC is encouraging people who know they will need to postal vote to apply as early as possible.
“The BRC has gone above and beyond with our enrolment process, and we are now offering postal voting for the first time in Papua New Guinea. There really is no good reason that Bougainvilleans should not be able to vote during the Bougainville Referendum,” Mr Claudio said.
“It should be a joyous, transparent, credible – and inclusive occasion.”
Any enrolled voter can apply for a postal vote so long as they meet the following criteria:
- Being more than 16km away from the nearest polling booth during the polling period (this includes polling booths set up outside of Bougainville, in PNG, Australia or Solomon Islands);
- Being seriously ill/infirm/disabled, about to give birth or caring for a young child;
- Holding religious beliefs that prevent them from attending a polling booth to vote.
Applications for Postal Voting can be made by using the BRC application form or in writing. The application form, polling schedule and further information are available now on the BRC website www.bougainville-referendum.org, at BRC regional offices and the PNGEC Head Office, Franjipani St, Hohola in Port Moresby. Application forms and further information can also be requested via email at [email protected]. After applications have been received, the BRC will make arrangements to deliver the postal voting pack to the voter.