It is expected that around six million eligible voters in Papua New Guinea will take part in this year’s general election, with an updated common roll to be completed next month, says Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai.

It includes around 750,000 new voters who have just turned 18.

In 2017 when the general election was held, there were 5,062,298 registered voters.

“(So) with a growth rate of three per cent a year, you times that by five years, we have about 750,000 new voters,” Sinai said.

“In October last year, the Government through the Department of Finance released K40 million (US$11.4 million) for the common roll update process in the 22 provinces.”

Finance secretary Dr Ken Ngangan confirmed that the K40mil was for the national common roll update.

“It is a big exercise and we released the money last October,” he added. “Of the 22 provinces, five have come back with information on their update status, with a more than 14 per cent completed update in five provinces,” Sinai said.

The common roll update will be for the 22 provinces, 89 open electorates, 331 local government council boundaries and 6,375 council wards.

“The five provinces of East Sepik, West Sepik, Milne Bay, Northern and Gulf confirmed that most of their wards have completed their roll update. We have yet to get the status of the other 17 provinces,” he said.

“The common roll update will take place in all wards from January to February.

“The update will include new enrolments and the update of the existing enrolments. It will be followed by data processing to produce a preliminary roll.”

Sinai said the preliminary roll would be publicly displayed before the issue of writs on April 28.

“The roll update process includes community participation with ward enrolment committees and LLG enrolment coordinators to oversee the work of enrolment agents to encourage local ownership and discourage manipulation,” Sinai said.

“The work will include getting rid of duplicates and ghost names, said Sinai.