Thousands of troops and police deployed to avoid general elections turning violent.
Scrutineers painted each voters’ finger to ensure they did not vote twice.
But with the election spread over 11 days, people happily admitted that when the paint wore off they would vote again in a different constituency.
One voter said: “Of course, it’s ok. I think it’s better. It’s better to vote twice?”
False enrolments are so entrenched in Papua New Guinean elections they are nearly impossible to stamp out.
The electoral commission said it has removed about one million false names from the roll but the problem has not been fixed.
In one seat in the Highlands region, there were 10 000 registered voters in a village of only 2000 people.
The Highlands areas also presented the biggest security problem. Police were there to prevent a repeat of the violence that claimed at least 30 lives during the last election in 2002.
Even so, Don Polye, the deputy prime minister, said he had already survived an assassination attempt in his Highlands seat – and said three of his supporters were sprayed with bullets.
“One had his hand cut, the other one had a bullet go through his head but fortunately did not crack his skull.”
Peter Mission-Yaki – a rival candidate who had been charged with attempted murder – said no shooting ever took place and the police were coerced into laying charges.
“There was no shots I’m telling you that. There was no such thing as a shot or no such things as a riot. No shooting at all? There was nothing whatsoever.”