Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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The Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) has distributed sensitive voting materials including voting bulletins, voters list, and voting cabins to the municipalities including those to be sent to Australia and Portugal for overseas voting.

STAE has distributed sensitive voting materials including voting bulletins, voters list, and voting cabins to the municipalities including those to be sent to Australia and Portugal for overseas voting.

STAE Director Acilino Manuel Branco said the distribution of materials for overseas voting centers was done by diplomats under the supervision of CNE officials. Distribution to the municipalities was done under close security provided by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL).

"The materials were taken to the municipalities with four days for verification and preparation based on the needs of voting centers so that if there are any issues we can respond to them,” he said.

After verification is undertaken in the municipalities, he added that on 19 March the materials will be deployed to every voting center so election can be held across the country and overseas on 20 March.

Director Branco added that unlike past elections, the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections of 2017 were different because Timorese voters residing in Australia and Portugal would be able to also vote.

He said all Timorese should be proud of this achievement because many other countries that became independent before Timor-Leste have not yet been able to do this.

He said also the voting ballots were printed based on the total number of voters with a 10% margin of extra ballots in case of damage. 

There are 747.583 registered voters inside and outside Timor-Leste ready to vote.

Meanwhile, CNE’s President Alcino Barris said despite the long time it took to print the ballots, the priority now is to make them arrive at voting centre across the country safely.

"We must ensure the materials get to their locations safely without suffering damages so that we can meet the quantity of votes established,” he said. 

He said the voting materials are very sensitive and important, and he therefore urged security officers to look after them to ensure the upcoming Presidential Election is a success.

The Commander of PNTL’s National Operations Superintendent Chief Henrique da Costa urged also the municipal commands to ensure the safe arrival and storage of the voting materials. 

Commander da Costa reiterated the voting materials would get to their destination safely but also sent back to the national level safely.

"It is not just up to PNTL to look after security. Everyone needs to contribute to ensuring the security of the election process,” he said. 

He added the 2017 Election will test the capacity of the PNTL to safeguard the electoral process because in previous years PNTL counted with the support of the United Nations Police.

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