Irupara and Hula villages in the Rigo District were privileged to be the first to trial the revised electoral roll update exercise yesterday.
Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, said this is the first of three other provinces including East New Britain and Milne Bay, where the project has already been launched for trialing.
The villagers lined up at a central location to update their data in the common roll, that was last revised five years ago.
Prior to this exercise, forms were left for individuals to fill and submit. That exercise proved to be a problem when ghost names and duplications started surfacing.
To avoid this, the new exercise required verification of each individual by a ward councillor with the assistance of poll agents before an LLG supervisor approved the data as valid.
The revised electoral roll update exercise has been decentralised, meaning the responsibility has now been shifted to the provincial level.
Eighteen other provinces have signed MoU’s to provide assistance in carrying out the similar roll updating exercises in their provinces in terms of ICT, data processing and logistics.
Negotiations with the Western, New Ireland and Gulf provinces are still underway.
The Commissioner said with the country’s recent economic status, the PNGEC was forced to make cuts to its budget, from K192 million to K63 million. This means provincial support is essential.
Gamato anticipates the roll updates for other provinces to commence in September, and to wind down as early as December for smaller provinces and in January at the latest for larger provinces.
The data collected will be submitted to the Electoral Commission headquarters in Port Moresby, where the rolls will be advertised for objection prior to elections.