Election Commission calls for public support on voter lists

Election Commission calls for public support on voter lists

Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) on Friday urged government departments, political parties, civil society groups and members of the public to assist in correcting irregularities in the voter lists for the upcoming general election.

In an announcement on 19 June, the UEC urged voters to check the registers when they are made public in their respective townships and report irregularities such as missing names or duplicated entries.

Su Pone Chit of the Serenity Initiative, a civil society group focused on educating the public about electoral procedures, said public awareness about the significance of correct voter lists has been low.

“We found irregularities in the voter lists, but these are only ‘preliminary lists’ and the final lists are yet to be announced,” she said. “The most common irregularities on the list are wrong names and personal details, but it can be assumed that a portion of those were caused by typing errors and such.”

She said the preliminary voter registers were based upon householder lists of residents across the country and therefore voters living away from home must also be considered.

The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party claimed in a letter to the UEC at the beginning of this month that between 30 to 80 percent of names on lists in Rangoon Division contained errors.

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“We checked the first two batches of voter lists in every township and found that the minimum percentage of irregularities in a township was 30 percent and the maximum was 80 percent,” said party executive committee member Win Htein.

“If these irregularities persist it will infringe upon voters’ civic rights,” he said, adding that the NLD feared many of their supporters’ ballots would not be counted.

He said the party is looking to check irregularities on the voter lists by going door to door in the relevant constituencies.

The NLD has said it will only decide whether to compete in the upcoming 2015 elections when the polling date is announced.

Nonetheless, on Sunday, NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi called for supporters to ensure that the party wins a landslide victory in the elections, which are slated to be held in October or November.

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