More than 800 Local level government votes have been declared informal after an oversight by election officers in Lae City.
While, counting is progressing atthe Ahi rural counting center, scrutineers and candidates fromthe Betibam area have been left disappointed and angry.
It appears thatoelection presiding officers may have over looked ballot papers inthe area.
“The presiding officer did not initialthe ballot papers, so by law it becomes informal,” saidReturning Officer Daniel Wasinak.
The candidates have announcedtheir intention to takethe matter to court straight after counting ends.
It’s a process that could result in a by-election and a recount in at least one ward area.
“People will havetheir opinion, but we have decided on what happens,” said Wasinak.
This isthe latest controversy sincethe LLG elections began.
On Monday, sitting Lord Mayor James Khay said boxes had been tampered with, in two locations andthe ballot papers marked by supporters of rival candidates.
“Firstly,they hijackedthe ballot papers, whichthey marked one for their candidate andthey returnedthem back for ther voters to mark two and three for ther candidates”, said Khay.
Khay is currently leading comfortably; however, he has since called onthe electoral commission to investigatethe allegations.
With more money inthe districts,there has been a surge inthe number of men and women running for office inthe third level of government. There are over 40 candidates for the Lord Mayor’s post.