Beating the cold to ensure people vote

Teams involved in polling for this year’s election, each have their own story to tell.

William Vaira’s story is of beating the cold of a new environment and surviving at least 8 hours of mountain climbing in order for a population of four villages to vote.

Hailogo, Enivilogo, Efogi 1 and Efogi 2 in the Efogi Ward of Koiari LLG are located along the Kokoda Track.

Vaira’s team – team 7, consisting of himself presiding officer and two reserved constables as security personnel, covered these villages.

The team left Port Moresby on last Tuesday July 27th by air and commenced polling at Hailogo upon arrival.

They spent a night there and left for Enivilogo by 6:30am the next morning.

“We walked for four hours with the ballot boxes,” he says.

Polling for Enivilogo took place on the same day and because the population there is small, they completed by mid-day.

The team took off again, walking for another 4 hours to reach Efogi 2. It was about 5:30pm when they arrived in the village.

On Wednesday July 28th, the team set up and commenced polling. Voters from the neighbouring village – Efogi 1 came to Efogi 2 to vote.

“We complete polling by 5:30pm and I transferred the sealed ballot boxes to the hands of the security personnel,” he said.

The team was airlifted Friday July 30th by Heliscopes, arriving in Port Moresby by 9:30am.

When Loop PNG caught up with Vaira that day, he was reading out the serial numbers of two ballot boxes.

“Each team had two box – one for regional and one for open. Our two boxes are now safe and sound in the storage container ready to be counted,” he said.

Vaira said the polling was successful with no incidents reported.

“The only challenge was natural environment. We walked the whole time and the place was really cold. But it was a good experience and adventure for me.”

Gloria Bauai