The BRC has completed the official ‘certified voter list’ to be used in polling for the Bougainville Referendum. The number of voters is 206,731.
BRC Chair Mr Bertie Ahern said the numbers reflected an intensive, inclusive and extended three-phase enrolment process.
“I’m confident that the numbers enrolled capture the intentions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement – to give the people of Bougainville a chance to finally have their say on the future of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville through an internationally recognised process,” Mr Ahern said.
“We’re delighted with the gender balance on the roll, and the number of young and first-time voters who have got themselves enrolled to vote.” “We believe we have gone above and beyond any electoral process in Papua New Guinea to comprehensively enrol eligible voters in Bougainville, elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, and for the first time, overseas in Australia and Solomon Islands. To do this, we have employed the local knowledge of community governments and grass-roots officials over three phases and many months.”
Mr Ahern said the final phase of enrolment in September, the public display and challenge of the preliminary roll, had provided many people with one last chance to check the roll and add their name.
“Over 4,000 people Bougainvilleans used the public display period to help us correct errors, double entries or get themselves enrolled. We are delighted at the high level of knowledge and engagement in the process to produce a credible roll, particularly the wide use of our SMS roll check service.”
By law, the roll closed to new enrolments after the issue of the Referendum Writ. Only persons enrolled may vote.
“Since the Governor-General Writ issued me the Writ on 27 September, there can be no more enrolments,” Mr Ahern said.
Since the close of the roll, BRC teams have been checking and double-checking claims for enrolment, updating the roll, data entry and further quality checking. The BRC will be providing a similar SMS roll check service for people to confirm where they are enrolled – and can also check the polling schedule on the BRC website and with BRC local level officials.
The roll will also be displayed on the BRC website for viewing in the coming days. Mr Ahern once again called on people to be active in the final three weeks to be informed voters.
“Both the polling schedule and roll are now finalised, the two governments have provided more information on greater autonomy and independence, and we have roadshows and over 800 trained men and women Ward awareness officers about to go into the field equipped with information.
* Outside the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, in PNG provinces, and Solomon Islands and Australia)
** The gender of the voter could not be determined