Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says his Government is committed to creating a better voting process for the 2022 General Election amidst COVID-19, including biometric voter registration.
He announced this at a press conference today after a meeting with Governors, Ministers, MPs, Acting Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, National Pandemic Response Controller Mike Manning and other stakeholders.
“Next year’s election will be conducted in the presence of COVID in the community,” PM Marape said.
“Something that we might use to clean up the voting process is biometrics, and an Electoral Roll that registers electronically, with photographs attached for all our voting population.”
“This process will be looked into by the Electoral Commission.
“They have trialed an electronic-based voter update at a council ward in Kupiano (Central Province) and it worked very well.
“We will try to expand this in a big way.”
PM Marape was hopeful that this technology would be used next year so that block voting, a normal practice in general elections in Papua New Guinea, would be stopped.
“This is something that my Pangu-led Government wants to give to the country: A better voting process for 2022,” he said.
“We will work with the Electoral Commission to ensure that a COVID-safe voting process is developed.”
PM Marape said voter registration and identification would commence in the second half of 2021, following the 2021 Census.
He encouraged all eligible voters to participate in this exercise as biometric voting would be the way of the future.
“We’ll start with an electronic voter identification process at the very earliest,” PM Marape said.
He also announced that election planning would be bipartisan and involve the Opposition “so that everyone knows what is coming and we have a fair place to compete for public office in 2022”.