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The National

Trawen heartened by low number of informal votes
December 17, 2003

The low number of informal votes recorded in the first election using the Limited Preferential Voting (LPV) system has pleased Acting Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen.

Mr Trawen said that since the LPV was being used for the first time in the Abau Open by-election, he expected the number of informal votes to be higher.

He said he was pleased with the fact that the informal votes represent less than two per cent of total votes cast.

Of the 18,544 votes counted, 345 were recorded as informal, which is 1.89 per cent of total votes.

“We expected the number of informal votes to be high because it’s the first time we are using the new system. But only 1.8 per cent of total votes turned out to be informal and it shows people of Abau are generally literate and used the 1, 2, 3 voting system very easily,” Mr Trawen said in an interview.

He attributed this to effective awareness campaign on the LPV system carried out by Electoral Commission and Central province administration prior to the elections.

“It shows that if we plan properly, it will work well. It’s a very effective system and it works for everybody.

“It’s a good stepping stone for us. If the people of Abau can do it, I’m sure the people of Simbu and Anglimp/South Waghi will also do well.”

He said the by-elections for the two electorates in the Highlands are expected to be held in the first quarter of 2004.

Mr Trawen said the 60 per cent voter turnout in Abau was also pleasing.

He said that that shortcomings that were witnessed during counting process have to be corrected now if future elections are to be handled well.

“We can’t afford to make those types of mistakes. We have to be accurate all the time. We have to improve on this,” he said in reference to the four votes that were not accounted for during the counting of second preference votes in the Abau election.

Returning Officer Frank Gabi, who was spoken to separately about this discrepancy, said in a closer contest, the situation might be different.

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