Tuesday 930th May 2023
Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Mr Steven Matainaho has proposed e-voting as the best way forward in Papua New Guinea’s next general election.
Speaking during the National Election Summit today, Secretary Matainaho emphasized the importance of eVoting, stressing it should be considered for future elections in the country by government agencies concerned.
“The concept of eVoting in the country is to save time, resources and funding, as well as honest voting will be done,” Mr Matainaho said.
He admits, manual process during election has been a challenge for the government in past elections around the country.
“We must seriously look into digitalizing the voting process in the country as we will save time and resources, and also transparent voting and trouble-free elections will be conducted.”
Secretary Matainaho said the first step in rolling out eVoting in the country is the process of digital ID for citizens.
“The process of Digital ID for individual citizens is easy and convenient for all. Download the Digital ID Wallet application and identify yourself digitally – self register through existing sources of ID for instance NID card number or passport.
He further explain, “Link physical ID for authentication of individual to register for eWallet after downloading application, and after completion of authentication, it will be convenient or user friendly for all citizens.”
Mr Matainaho added that DICT is progressing work for Digital ID and is expected to be rolled out later this year.
“Once Digital ID is done, I propose for it to be used in the coming National General Election in 2027 but it is up to the Government or Electoral Commission to decide on the eVoting process,” he said.
He said manual voting process has too many loop holes as experienced in previous elections and it must be removed as eVoting can be one of the solutions to transparency and non – violent election.
“We have done enough as government to register 3 million citizens in the country under the NID program and this is one of the primary data that can assist us in common rolls as well,” he added.
“This is one source of primary data and we have started a process to make additional policy process to ensure Digital ID wallet is rolled out by the end of this year, 2023.
“eVoting is important for the country, for people to use it conveniently from their locations.”
Secretary Matainaho added that collaborative effort is needed from all government agencies to discuss further and also what available technologies is needed when discussing further on digitalization.
“We have the potential to look into eVoting and Digital ID wallet as it will obviously change the dynamics of what we are doing now and into the future,” Secretary Matainaho added.