Ballot problems and delays with advance voting for Myanmar overseas voters have raised concerns among citizens over the motives of authorities in charge of managing the polling process in the run-up to the nationwide elections early next month. Advance voting, which began last week, has been marred in one case by ballots being sent to the wrong embassy, by errors and omissions on the ballots themselves, and by incomplete voter lists and long waits to cast votes. About 35,000 Myanmar citizens are eligible for advance voting in 37 countries. Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC), which is responsible for managing the voting, has acknowledged the problems with voter lists and ballots at home and abroad and has vowed to ensure successful nationwide elections on Nov. 8. Although the UEC has rescheduled advance voting past the Friday cutoff in foreign countries where problems have occurred, it has yet to rectify the situation at home.
A series of mishaps at various polling stations around the country during the advance voting process over the weekend have raised doubts about the readiness of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to host the 2014 general elections. Uproar broke out on Monday after reports emerged that the weekend poll marred with controversy as some public servants were denied a chance to vote. Reports from various constituencies in the country indicate that voters were made to wait for long hours while in some instances voting was postponed because ballot papers were either defective or in short supply. In some instances, voters waited until midnight to cast their vote as the IEC was forced to extend voting hours to allow for new ballot papers to arrive. In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary hopeful in Molepolole North, Mohammed Khan expressed disappointment at the way the IEC handled the advanced voting process and cast aspersions of the Commission’s preparedness to coordinate the October 24 general election.
Voters across the country scored significant victories in the past few weeks. A federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act. A Pennsylvania ID law is dead after the governor decided not to appeal a decision ruling it unconstitutional. And two states passed laws expanding voter registration access. Still, fights continue in dozens of states, and a bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act is stalled in Congress. At a time of historic dysfunction and congressional inaction, it is not enough to rely on the courts. It is high time for a greater executive role in safeguarding the right to vote. President Obama has the authority to act, and he must. After long lines marred the 2012 election, the president formed a bipartisan commission to identify best practices and new ideas to improve the voting experience. The commission’s final report, issued in January, contained potent recommendations for reform on the state and local level. Obama also spoke out recently on the grim reality of voting restrictions. “The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” the president told a group of activists in April. These efforts to restrict the right to vote will not go unchallenged, he assured the audience. But if the president’s words are to be more than mere flourishes, he must assert his leadership through executive action. The Brennan Center for Justice recently released a proposal outlining several concrete steps Obama can take to improve elections in America.
The Election Commission (EC) has approved a proposal involving poll re-runs in 11 provinces where balloting for Jan 26 advance voting and the Feb 2 election was disrupted by protest blockades, its secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong says. Mr Puchong said the poll re-runs are scheduled for April 5 in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Bangkok and on April 27 for Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Phuket, Satun and Phangnga. He said the proposal is the result of last Friday’s meeting between the EC and parties concerned in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district. The EC has resolved that it will wait for a Constitution Court ruling before making any decision concerning 28 constituencies where there were no candidates to contest the Feb 2 election, he said.
The February 2 election is set to trigger a lengthy legal battle between the two rival political camps, which are ignoring the negative consequences of the country being dragged into a power vacuum. It is quite certain that the February 2 election will be held, with the likely consequence being that voting cannot be carried out in many constituencies and provinces. No one knows when the voting in these provinces will be able to take place, or how many rounds of advance voting and absentee voting will be carried out, given that anti-government protesters are determined to block the elections. The possibility of completing the whole process of the February 2 poll is thus inevitably thrown into doubt. This may not be surprising; some political parties have rejected it from the very start. Legal specialists such as former Senate speaker Meechai Ruchuphan and People’s Democratic Reform Committee leader Suthep Thaugsuban believe that the solution is to nullify the election – with the April 2, 2006 election serving as an example.
Thailand: Protest leader killed as anti-government demonstrations disrupt advance voting in Thailand | Australia Network News
Thai anti-government protest leader has been shot dead in Bangkok. The protest movement’s spokesman, Akanat Promphan, says Suthin Tharathin was giving a speech from a pick-up truck in the Thai capital when he was shot and killed. “The government has failed to provide any safety and security for anybody today despite the emergency decree,” he said, referring to a government order empowering police to control protests. Bangkok’s Erawan emergency centre confirmed one man had been killed and nine injured in the shooting in the city’s suburbs. Anti-government protesters forced the closure of 19 out of 50 polling stations in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Sunday, disrupting advance voting for the disputed general election.
The 2013 session has come and gone, and Missouri still has no law allowing advance voting. According to one 2012 tally, 32 of the 50 states have a system that allows voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day. Kansas is one of those 32 states. But not Missouri, although both Democratic and Republican secretaries of state, who serve as the state’s chief elections officer, have pushed for it in the last decade.
Malaysia’s Election Commission (EC) held a public demonstration here on Thursday to prove that the ink could last despite washing the finger several times, following an uproar over the incident. EC secretary Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria invited a member of the press, who did advance voting, to participate in the demonstration, Free Malaysia Today reports. This time, the EC staff shook the indelible ink bottle for about 30 seconds before applying on the Sinar Harian reporter, Muhammad Shamsul Abd Ghani’s index finger. Later, Shamsul attempted to wash away the ink several times using disinfectant, spirit, vinegar and water but failed. The attempts only turned the ink colour from dark purple to dark red.
Barely hours after ‘indelible’ ink was used for the first time in Malaysia, complaints have emerged that the ink is in fact removable. This is contrary to the Election Commission’s (EC) assurance that traces of the ink would last at least seven days on the finger after being painted on with a brush. One soldier, who had marked his ballot in advance voting on Tuesday morning, said he had removed most of the ink with water alone – just six hours later, Malaysiakini reported.
The Missouri House approved a new ballot summary Wednesday for a proposed constitutional amendment that would clear the way for a requirement that voters show photo identification. The move marked the second attempt by House members to write the summary, which would appear before voters as they decide on the voter ID proposal. The measure calling for the amendment cleared the Legislature last year, and lawmakers are working to put it on the ballot this year. The proposal would amend the Missouri Constitution to allow a state law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls and to permit an advanced voting period. Last month, Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce rejected the ballot summary that lawmakers approved for the proposal, calling it insufficient. But Joyce ruled that lawmakers could revise the ballot summary. House members approved the revised summary 102-55, and it now goes to the state Senate. Some have questioned whether the Legislature can use a resolution to change the ballot summary for a proposal that passed the Legislature in the preceding year.
India: Successful use of electronic voting machine in the maiden Comilla City polls could be a major challenge | Daily Star
With polling only eight days away, successful use of electronic voting machine (EVM) in the maiden Comilla City Corporation polls could be a major challenge for the Election Commission as many voters are still unfamiliar with the device. The EC, however, is confident that the much-talked-about machine will prove a success.
This is the first time the commission is going to use the EVM in the entire polling in any elections in the country. It will use 421 machines in as many booths in 65 polling centres. Besides, 65 more will be kept reserved on the polling day. Earlier the main opposition BNP decided not to back any candidate as the EC turned down its demands for army deployment and not using EVM.
The use of indelible ink, among other reforms announced by the Election Commission on Monday, will go a long way in assuring people that the next general election will be above board. The Election Commission’s (EC) decision to use indelible ink in the next general election, among other ground-breaking measures recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), has been welcomed and will put an end to persistent allegations of double voting and other forms of electoral fraud.
In a situation where belief in the voting process has taken a knock, it is only natural that indelible ink be brought into play to restore faith in the electoral system. The acceptance of the ink also shows that the Government welcomes any move to ensure greater credibility of the vote and electoral transparency.
Municipal and county authorities throughout Norway have now completed their technical preparations and are ready for the elections to be held on 11 and 12 September. An extensive apparatus of IT systems, vote counting machines, technical equipment and election material is now in place at all the authorities across the country ready for the elections. This information comes from a review carried out by EDB ErgoGroup, which is a supplier of election systems for this year’s elections.
“Running the elections is a very big task for the country’s municipal and county authorities. As part of our deliveries, we have distributed around 3.1 million polling cards to eligible voters. Around 45 million ballot papers had been printed and distributed to local voting districts and party organisations”, explains Håvard Larsen, Head of the Solutions business area at EDB ErgoGroup.
In addition to deliveries from EDB ErgoGroup, a number of municipalities source some of their requirements through other channels. EDB ErgoGroup’s estimates indicate that the total number of polling cards distributed throughout Norway is in the order of 3.75 million, and that a total of as many as 60 million ballot papers are ready for use in the voting districts. EDB ErgoGroup has provided training for more than 1,500 election officials in municipalities throughout Norway.
Sri Lanka: Additional officials to vulnerable stations – plans for electronic voting in Sri Lanka | DailyMirror.lk
The Elections Commissioner said yesterday that measures had been taken to deploy an additional number of officials to vulnerable polling stations located in areas where a high number of complaints concerning election violence had been reported.
Speaking at a media briefing held at the Elections Department yesterday, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that polling stations located in Kaduwela, Warakapola, Minuwangoda, Attanagalle, Wilgamuwa and Chilaw would receive special attention, and the presence of Elections Department officials in those places would be increased.
Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Suthipol Thaweechaikarn on Monday admitted that there were some technical glitches in the advance election on Sunday as slightly over 50 per cent of eligible voters who had registered for advance voting exercised their rights.
Mr Suthipol said the advance election nationwide was run smoothly in general, with some 1.49 million voters or 55.6 per cent of some 2.6 million voters who had registered for advance voting outside their constituencies casting their ballots. Meanwhile, some 90 per cent of voters who registered to vote in advance at their constituencies exercised their rights.