Since the Union Election Commission (UEC) released voter lists across 130 townships on 8 June, it has been on the receiving end of criticism for the widespread inaccuracies contained within them. It has now emerged that the irregularities include the omission of members of opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Other mistakes include duplications and erroneous inclusions, such as the names of deceased, or underage individuals, and those without national ID cards.
Ko Myo, a resident in Karen State’s Payathonsu, told DVB that the town’s voter lists included the names of those living abroad, but local NLD members’ names had been omitted.
The NLD’s Karenni State chairperson Dr Khin Situ confirmed that voter lists were replete with errors, including mismatched ID card numbers and names.
“I went to check the voter list in my ward. They had my ID card number down wrong, I was listed only as Daw Khin Sithu but not Dr Khin Sithu, and my son did not appear on the list. If they get our details wrong, what does that mean for ordinary people?” she said.
The UEC responded to initial criticism about mistakes in the lists by saying they are merely draft versions, and that citizens should inform the commission of any mistakes.
The lists for 25 townships in Magwe Division were published, and the NLD’s Magwe Division secretary Nay Myo Kyaw said that they were full of similar errors.
“The most common error in the lists is incorrect names, and the names of people who passed away appearing as eligible voters,” said Nay Myo Kyaw.
“The list released in Magwe town has the same birth date, 30 June, for almost every voter. There are also many cases such as the names of whole families missing from the lists, or one name appearing three or four times. In a village named Chaungko, the names of all NLD members in the village were left out from the list,” he said.
He added that many residents had not checked the voter lists, and that they were posted within local government and municipal buildings so could only be accessed at certain times of day.
Responding to news of ongoing criticisms about the inaccuracies, UEC representative Win Kyi told DVB that the responsibility of ensuring correct voter lists lies with the public.
“If they don’t report mistakes, then I’m sorry, it’s their responsibility. If they don’t report them now, the errors will remain on the lists. So if they want to vote, then they should report irregularities to be corrected. If a name doesn’t appear on the lists, then apply for it. This is their responsibility and if they don’t do it, we cannot help them,” he said.
“There are over 30 million people on the lists, which is why we announced these in advance. In the past, these lists were only announced after the election date, but we are now announcing early so voters can check – but if they don’t, for whatever reason, then we cannot do anything about it.”
Asked about the names of the deceased being included amongst eligible voters, Win Kyi said, “If a father is dead, then his daughter should remove him off the householder registration, otherwise his name will appear in the voter list. No one can force dead people to vote.”