Asia

Articles about voting issues in Asia, Australia and Oceania.

Thailand: Election bill reaches king in step toward general election | Nikkei Asian Review

Thailand’s military junta has moved closer to keeping its long-held promise to hold a general election that could see power transferred back to civilian hands. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam said on Monday that a new bill has been submitted to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for his approval. The bill lays out rules for a lower house election, will take effect 90 days after  the king approves it and it is published in the Royal Gazette, the government’s public journal. An election must then follow within 150 days. Read More

Comoros: Vice-president denounces ‘illegal’ referendum | AFP

The Comoran vice-president has denounced as “illegal” a planned July referendum on constitutional reform that could allow President Azali Assoumani to seek re-election. Assoumani only took office in 2016 but wants to hold a fresh vote next year, two years early, so that he can remain in power beyond 2021 when his currently non-renewable term would otherwise end. The referendum, scheduled for July 29, could change the current system — which sees power rotate every five years between the archipelago’s three main islands — and enable the president to run for two fresh five year-terms. Read More

China: Could call to give vote to half a million Hongkongers in mainland China open door to voting rights for all citizens overseas? | South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong government has said it would consider giving voting rights to hundreds of thousands of citizens living over the border in mainland China, prompting the immediate question of whether this would be extended globally. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said at the weekly Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday that any arrangements for polling outside Hong Kong must be critically examined. “[We must consider things] such as how the polling and counting process could be effectively monitored as well as transportation of ballot papers and boxes to and from polling stations outside Hong Kong,” Nip said, adding that the relevant electoral legislation, any emergency risks and unforeseen incidents also had to be considered. Read More

India: Controversy as Indian electronic voting machines malfunction | Asia Times

Malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) have again marred elections in India and raised question about the reliability of the devices. Election Commission (EC) officials blamed heat waves for affecting the machines. On Monday numerous media reports emerged about EVMs not working, with opposition parties claiming tampering as four Lok Sabha, or Lower House of the Indian Parliament, seats and nine assembly constituencies held by-elections. However, the EC has called the large number of EVM failures exaggerated and said defective machines did not diminish the credibility of elections, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. According to media reports, the EC was also ridiculed after its officials said the EVM machines malfunctioned due to heat waves in the northern region of Uttar Pradesh. Read More

South Korea: Foreign voters still get little attention | The Korea Times

With the June 13 local elections about two weeks away, some foreign residents with voting rights are still having difficulty getting information about candidates because of the language barrier. The National Election Commission (NEC) has been running an official foreign language website, but they are poorly managed with few updates; they are virtually useless for foreign voters who cannot speak Korean. From May 27 to 29, foreign residents with suffrage need to visit their local community center or government website for their city, county or district, to confirm whether they are listed as eligible voters and how to find their polling station. Foreigners who find their names missing should ask the center to include them during this period. Otherwise, they might lose the chance to vote. Read More

India: Massive EVM Failure Affects Voting in Kairana, Leaders Demand Repolls | NewsClick

As Kairana Lok Sabha Constituency went to bypolls on Monday, the malfunctioning of the EVMs and VVPAT emerged to be the biggest story from the polling ground. The extent of EVMs malfunctioning grew severe as the day progressed. More than 200 EVMs and VVPATs from the polling booths of all the five assembly segments of the Lok Sabha were reportedly malfunctioning, which led to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to raise allegations of “scientific rigging” in the byelection. Interestingly, even the BJP leadership raised the issue of EVM malfunctioning and urged the EC to conduct repolls at some booths. The RLD’s candidate in Kairana Tabassum Hasan, who got the support of Opposition parties, wrote to the chief election commissioner complaining about malfunctioning EVM and VVPATs in her constituency. She alleged that despite raising the issue at the state and national level, the local administration was not dealing with the issue. The voters were being deprived of their right and hence the Election Commission must urgently send engineers and technicians to repair the machines, she wrote.  Read More

South Korea: Lawmakers set to convene over constitutional revision | Yonhap

South Korea’s parliament is set to convene a plenary session Thursday to deal with a government-proposed constitutional revision, but opposition parties’ have threatened to boycott the session and scuttle the bill, which they claim lacks a consensus among lawmakers. … The proposal calls for changing the current five-year single-term presidency to a four-year presidency renewable once. Thursday is a deadline for parliament to vote on the bill. If the deadline is not met, it will be effectively nullified. The Constitution requires lawmakers to vote on a constitutional revision bill within 60 days of it put being on a public notice. Read More

China: Hong Kong government scraps plan to shorten voting hours after overwhelming public opposition | South China Morning Post

A government suggestion of shortening polling times for Hong Kong elections has been shelved after an overwhelming number of objections from people fearing the measure would strip shift workers of their voting rights. The development came on Tuesday as the administration submitted to the Legislative Council a report which wrapped up the results of a seven-week public consultation last year on three issues related to elections. While the government had said it was open to shortening polling hours – which normally last from 7.30am to 10.30pm – it suggested in the consultation paper that the move would help alleviate the fatigue suffered by candidates and electoral staff and ease the booking of venues. Read More

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Central Election Commission tests electronic voting systems | Agenda

The Central Election Commission of Georgia has tested electronic machines for vote-counting during the Zugdidi by-elections yesterday. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) use a keyboard, touch-screen, mouse, pen or other electronic device to allow voters record their votes electronically. DREs are used in polling stations. The system captures the voter’s choices and stores an electronic record of their vote in the machine. The data captured is then transmitted by either electronic means or manually. Read More

India: Facebook is offering a ‘cyber threat crisis’ hotline to Indian politicians | Business Insider

Facebook, on Friday, introduced a “cyber threat crisis” email hotline for politicians and political parties in India. A top company official told TOI that the company is also working on an “election integrity” microsite for the country. With the new hotline, the compromised account and even the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), can write to “indiacyberthreats@fb.com”. A cybersecurity guide with basic security do’s and don’ts has also been released by the company. Facebook announced the efforts a day after submitting its responses to the Indian government over the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Read More