22 May 2004

PNG election officials vow to stamp out dishonest voting

6:29 am on 22 May 2004

The Papua New Guinea electoral commissioner is vowing to make sure dishonest voters don't wreck by-elections in the Highlands today.

Andrew Trawen says he's authorised a large police operation aimed at putting an end to the practice of people voting more than once.

Mr Trawen says both unqualified people and qualified voters have in the past voted more than once, with the names of other lawful voters, or dead voters, to give extra votes to candidates.

The commission expects attempted illegal voting in Chimbu to be high.

Mr Trawen says councillors in most areas of the provinces refused to help election officers, to take off the names of deceased people from the electoral roll.

He says he wants to cut back the high rate of illegal voting common among Highlanders.

Many boasted openly that they'd voted more than once in the Chimbu Province during the 2002 National Election.

Voting starts today in three National Parliament by-elections - using the Limited Preferential Voting system.

Ballots are being held for the Chimbu Provincial seat of the Governor, and for two MPs, one in an electorate in the Western Highlands, and another in East Sepik.