The EC and fixing the referendum

4 08 2016

Khaosod’s Pravit Rojanaphruk had a very useful (and scary) article published a couple of days ago. We highlight just a few points, while noting that the Election Commission is a failed and partisan organization.

Pravit asks:

Can people trust that the Aug. 7 referendum charter draft will be transparent, impartial and credible?

Given the junta’s wielding of absolute power and its big stakes in a “successful” outcome of the Aug. 7 referendum on the constitution it wants passed by the public, there are many questions about the process.

Is that a no to the question asked? We suggest never trusting the military in Thailand. Never, ever.

The next question is startling: Why does the ballot require a fingerprint? This is the first time ever that this has been part of a ballot. The EC says this in not for identifying voters (all of whom are fingerprinted for their ID cards) or for intimidating voters. The EC says it is a “a marketing maneuver.” Yes, seriously, that’s what they say and why there’s a space on the ballot for the print.

Will the ballot be secret: There is the fingerprinting…. But the EC says: “Despite recent rumors circulating on social media that ballots would be counted in secret, the [Election C]ommission said ballots will be counted at polling locations Sunday.”

Is public monitoring possible? The official answer is yes. But, and its a big but: “To make a formal complaint of misconduct or irregularity, one must physically visit a provincial office of the Election Commission, or EC [HQ], or via an EC smartphone app available for iPhone and Android.”

Will there be military interference? Probably. The military’s men and women will be everywhere and in many roles, but according to the EC, “they will be outside the stations…”. But it is admitted that The Dictator could use Article 44 to intervene anywhere he likes.

Why will only 95 percent of the votes be initially reported by the EC? The EC says this is “in order to avoid possible discrepancies with the official result process running in tandem, the results of which will be made public by Wednesday at the latest.”

That’s three days of opacity, added to all the opaqueness, threats and repression to date.