The fact finding mission to India headed by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, yielded developments for the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission.
Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner, Mr Patilias Gamato, met with the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri A.K. Joti, and the PNG delegation last Wednesday ( 13 December), at the office of the Election Commissioner of India (ECI) in New Delhi.
Points of discussion between the Electoral agencies was voter registration, voter verification, polling and counting which pose significant challenges during PNG elections.
A technology that was of interest to the PNG Delegation was the Electronic Voter Machines (EVM).
“We [PNG EC] are keen to learn from the Election Commission of India in terms of technologies used in elections in India. We are particularly interested in the Electronic Voter Machines used for counting,” Mr Gamato said.
In a media statement released by the Department of National Planning this, explained that the Indian Elections manage over 800 million voters, with the machine operating as a standalone, closed system, it does not need internet connectivity as opposed to e-Voting, which uses internet.
This offline feature is said to be secure.
The media statement goes further to add that the Indian Government for prevention of Election fraud, only two manufacturers are appointed makers.
“Electoral Commission of India operates an electoral training institute (Indian Institute of Democracy and Election Management, IIDEM) which PNG Electoral Commission can utilize by either India sending technical expertise over to PNG or PNG Electoral Commission sending officers to India for training,” Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri A.K. Joti said.
India has been using the Technology for two decades.
“As an outcome of this meeting we will look at building capacity of our election officers through electoral training programs offered by Electoral Commission of India,” Mr Gamato said.
The ECI has also extended the possibility for training and technical assistance once the Papua New Guinea finalises its decision on the system upgrade.