Judging from the current speed of counting, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission is confident all 379 ballot boxes including those from overseas, will be completed in less than two weeks.

“Thank you young team for speedy counting,” Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Edward Kaltamat said.

“If we can announce the result by June 10 then we may not need a further four or five days but, most likely one day extra, if we can complete SANMA tonight (05.06.24). Then we move on to count PENAMA and TORBA ballot boxes. We will, then, be able to complete all 21 overseas polling stations over the weekend.

“Once we produce the results, if we find one or two ballot boxes do not reconcile with the numbers as recorded in the box then we must recount the votes from the ballot box until we are satisfied.

“Even all the envelopes are kept to ensure that the number of votes counted is equal to the number of envelopes used.”

All votes cast are stapled together in tens to make it easy to count again for verification.

“What this means is that after counting all the votes we will cross check the numbers electronically to ensure they agree,” he said.

Mr. Kaltamat said verification could take two days before the results are announced to the nation. He praised his young officers who he said, have been with them for the last six months and are the contributants to the speedy progress in the completion of the first referendum vote counting in TAFEA, SHEFA and MALAMPA Provinces.

“Now we are on to the biggest constituency in the country which is SANMA Province which has over 90 polling stations. We hope to complete counting the votes tonight,” he said.

Observing a sense of energetic spirit displayed by the young officers as they call out “Valid 17A” or “Void 17B” as they drop each vote in its right ballot box, Kaltamat said, “My message to the young officers is that they are fully dedicated and are committed to stand up late into the night and even until the early hours of the next day, and they still have the energy to carry out their duties until they complete counting their ballot boxes.

“Other people may look tired but, these young people are physically strong and are motivated to keep counting until they finish each of their ballot boxes.

“This is very encouraging for the Commission, to witness such dedication”.

When asked about the future of the smart young officers that count, he said the Commission also “grooms them” for future potential political careers as the political future of the country belongs to them.

He named at least two members of his staff who were nurtured by the Commission to develop into dedicated Provincial Officers.