The Bougainville Referendum Commission has released a detailed breakdown of the referendum roll, including the numbers of Bougainvilleans enrolled by constituency.
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said the total of 206,731 enrolled, when broken down by constituency, reflected the most extensive and inclusive enrolment processes of Bougainvilleans ever conducted.
“The Referendum roll demonstrates three things: one, that this Referendum will include almost equal numbers of men and women. Two, that this Referendum will include a high number of young people reflecting Bougainville’s age demographics – including those who turn 18 on or before 23 November 2019. And three, that while the BRC has gone above and beyond to extend enrolment of eligible Bougainvilleans overseas and in every PNG province, the overwhelming proportion (94%) of Bougainvilleans voting will be those living in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as these voters constitute 94% of the roll,” Mr Claudio said.
“We believe that the numbers illustrate that the intention of the Bougainville Peace Agreement has been met– that the people of Bougainville can have their say about the future of Bougainville through an internationally recognised process.”
The Chief Referendum Officer said that while no electoral roll was perfect, the BRC acknowledges the efforts of everyone involved: “we thank the Community Government officials and Ward Recorders for their efforts, as well as the more than 200,000 people who also played an active part in getting themselves informed and enrolled.”
“We know there are a few individuals who did not make an effort to enrol themselves before the Issue of the Writ, but we request on behalf of those that have, to not disturb polling places by trying to vote,” Mr Claudio said.
“On behalf of the overwhelming majority who are enrolled, let’s keep the polling process a respectful, joyful and peaceful one.”
The enrolment figures will be available on the BRC website and provided in hard copy to the Bougainville House of Representatives during a final BRC briefing on Thursday ahead of polling.
“The BRC, as always, is committed to fulfilling its charter for both a transparent and inclusive referendum process.”
By law, the roll closed to new enrolments at the issue of the Referendum Writ on September 27. There will be no chance to enrol at polling places.
Mass awareness is now taking place in and outside Bougainville to inform voters where and when the 829 polling places will open, including an SMS roll check service. Over 800 Ward awareness officers have also been mobilised and Commissioners are currently undertaking roadshows in each region of Bougainville, as well as Kokopo, Lae, Madang and Kimbe.
To use the SMS Roll Check Service, people should text (+675) 7933 6628 or 7149 3920 with all the following information:
- First name and surname
- Constituency and ward in which they reside or claim clan lineage to
- Date of birth, or at least year of birth