Two independent election watchdogs have criticised the Election Commission over its handling of advance voting on Sunday, accusing the poll agency of effectively disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters. As many as 500,000 eligible voters lost their right to vote because of a misunderstanding caused by the Election Commission’s poor public relations and an outdated regulation, the People’s Network for Election in Thailand (Pnet) said on Tuesday.
It said these people had registered in 2007 to vote in advance outside their home constiuencies and had not been properly informed they needed to advise the authorities if they intended to vote elsewhere this time. They had not voted last Sunday in the area they were previously registered, and as a consequence they were now denied the right to vote on July 3.
The Asian Network for Free Election (Anfrel) also criticised the EC for this oversight, but said advanced voting was, in general, well managed but safeguards needed to be put in place for this weekend’s voting.
Pnet committee member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said the people disenfranchised had registered to vote in advance outside their constituencies in the last election, but had not withdrawn their names from the list of advance voters, not knowing that they were required to do so by an EC regulation.
Full Article: Bangkok Post : EC accused of disenfranchising 500,000 voters.