There have been a number of queries put to the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) as to whether electors can still vote even if they reside overseas or in places that are not their nominated electorate.
Responding to these queries, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato elaborated on this issue, highlighting the law on ‘Postal Voting’.
Postal voting or voting by post is catered for by the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections (Organic Law).
Basically, any person who is eligible to vote but will not be able to do so come polling day can apply to vote via post.
There are 7 categories of electors whom postal voting applies;
- Electors who will not be in the electorate during the polling period
- Electoral who will not take part in polling on religious grounds (SDA Sabbath on Saturday polls)
- Women electors approaching maternity or caring for her infant
- Electors who are seriously sick in the house or hospital
- Electors traveling away from his/her residence
- Electors who are within 16 kilometres by the nearest polling place in the electorate where he/she is enrolled
- Electors who are citizens living abroad (overseas)
Electors must apply for a postal vote certificate and postal ballot-paper; this is done by writing to the Returning Officer after the tenth day after the issue of writs.
“When that is done, a Returning Officer may, together with a postal vote certificate and a ballot paper under section 100 of the Organic Law on National and LLG Elections, forward to an elector who has applied for postal vote certificate and postal vote ballot paper.”
“A candidate poster will also be included by the Returning Officer to assist the elector who may not be familiar with candidate names and codes.”
According to section 100 (3) of the Organic Law a Returning Officer will not post to an elector a postal vote certificate and postal ballot-paper that is received after 4pm on the day preceding the first day of the polling period.
The Electoral Commissioner cautions those who make false statements in their declaration that they will be penalised.
“Making wilful false statements in the declaration carry a liability of two years imprisonment.”
For more information check out the PNGEC’s website.