By Annette Kora – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Bougainville Referendum Commission has extended the enrolment for Bougainvilleans living outside of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea to the 8th of July, 2019. This has been due to a higher turnout of voters to enroll.
According to the BRC, delays in the delivery of enrolment forms to other provinces have also forced this decision – to ensure every eligible Bougainvillean has a chance to enroll to vote in the referendum in October.
“Thank you to everyone across the country that has been active in travelling to their provincial PNG Electoral Commission office to enroll. You now have until Monday 8th July to be included in this phase two enrolments.”
“We know that conducting this historic referendum across Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and now Solomon Islands and Australia is new and would have its challenges – but our commitment remains to work within the given laws, resources and timeline to ensure Bougainvilleans can have the opportunity to vote.”
According to Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, the BRC has been delighted by the response of Bougainvilleans, both in Bougainville and outside of Bougainville, in enrolling for the upcoming Referendum.
Among them, Bougainvilleans enrolling for the first time.
The high turnout in enrolment has now forced the BRC to extend the enrolment period by a further week.
Bougainvilleans outside of the Autonomous Region now have until Monday 8th of July to be included in phase two of enrolment.
On Bougainville, Ward recorders are beginning to hand in their phase two enrolment forms, to enable the start of the quality check phase, before data entry begins to develop a preliminary referendum roll.
In August, the preliminary roll will be displayed publicly in all wards for people to check their names and complete an enrolment form if needed – it will also be the last chance to enroll.
Meanwhile, BRC will also be doing mass awareness before then to tell people of how this short stage will work.
All the while, international teams will travel to the Solomon Islands and Australia to enroll Bougainvilleans living in Honiara, Gizo, Brisbane, and Cairns.
BRC commitment remains to work within the given laws, resources and timeline to ensure Bougainvilleans can have the opportunity to vote.