A total of 2.6 million voters exercised their right to cast votes ahead of the July 3 election yesterday as cases of vote-buying are expected to rise. A poll released on Saturday found that 18.7 per cent of respondents had been exposed to electoral fraud.
Vote-buying has traditionally been rampant the night before election day. In the past, canvassers have been seen carrying bags filled with bank notes to offer to villagers to vote for their parties or candidates. Vote-buying is now carried out in a more subtle matter, such as mobilising voters at a campaign rally.
Farm trucks and buses are used to take voters to campaign rallies. The drivers of these vehicles are paid between 1,000 baht and 2,000 baht (S$40.35) each for “fuel costs”. Another sum of money is also paid to voters, ostensibly for food.
Sources said canvassers, mostly community leaders such as village heads, also gather the names and identity card numbers of voters to calculate how much money their party might have to spend. The canvassers then give the money to voters a few days ahead of the election.
In some provinces, candidates exert their influence on village heads and the local authorities to ensure residents vote “in the same direction”, and then give them “collective rewards” in return.