Updated: Voter enthusiasm, voting glitches

18 03 2019

Yesterday we posted on a range of problems with overseas voting. Yesterday, early voting took place in Thailand.

The mainstream message is about record numbers and voter enthusiasm. In all, 2.6 million registered for advance voting. Something like 80-82% actually voted. 928,789 of those voters registered to vote in Bangkok at 77 polling units with 308 polling booths. Based on voting from 8am to 5pm, that’s more than 3,015 voters per booth or 335 per hour. That figure suggests why there were very long waits at some polling stations.

Some of the problems mentioned include polling stations that “were moved, and several of the new venues could not accommodate the high voter turnouts…”. In some stations, “officials … gave out incorrect ballot papers, so some voters ended up receiving ballot papers for the wrong constituencies.”

Khaosod reports on a woman “in Samut Songkhram province was allowed to mark 17 ballot papers on her own due to a misunderstanding at the polling station.”

Khaosod also reports “several cases of alleged mismanagement during the weekend’s early voting, which included providing wrong ballots and missing candidate information.” It states there was “a storm of angry complaints on mishaps that could potentially have a number of ballots voided, as polling stations were overwhelmed Sunday…”.

Questions were raised about the process of sorting votes, with 3,000 postal employees scheduled to do the sorting.

The Election Commission seems incapable of doing its designated job.

Update: It should be staggering, but it isn’t. The EC’s chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong “expressed satisfaction” with advanced voting. At the same time, he admitted “mistakes,” including “suspected fraud was reported in three provinces” that included “the alleged discovery of a pre-marked book of ballots” and fake documents. These are only the instances that were spotted and reported by officials.

In addition, the hapless Ittiporn “admitted that election staff at polling stations in several provinces gave out ballot papers for the wrong constituencies.” He says these votes will not be counted. That’s bad enough, but how does he propose to locate the wrong ballots?

It is quite possible that there will be a very large number of complaints after next week’s election.


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