Friday, August 18, 2017

Commission falls behind on vote list release

Claims that staff shortages prevented electoral officials from publishing the exact number of voters in Mandalay Region were met with scepticism yesterday. Though the new, and supposedly final, voter lists were posted in ward or village election commission offices commencing November 2, the exact number of eligible voters in the region could not be released before yesterday, said deputy director of Mandalay Region election commission U Kyaw Kyaw Soe.

A staff member at a polling station in Mandalay posts a final voters list during early voting on November 1. Photo: EPAA staff member at a polling station in Mandalay posts a final voters list during early voting on November 1. Photo: EPA

“The voter list for wards or villages that we have released is the amended version of the previous list, and may show an increase or a decrease. District-level election commissions have faced difficulties in compiling the numbers because they don’t have enough staff. The regional-level offices will be able to compile their lists once the district-level offices have sent their lists,” he said, adding that the final exact total of eligible voters might not be ready before election day.

“We don’t have enough staff. You can’t compile hundreds of thousands of names in a couple of days with only one or two staff,” said U Zaw Min, electoral officer for Nyaung Oo district election commission yesterday.

According to Meiktila district election commission, the district-level commission can complete and send the list only after receiving lists from ward or village election officials. “Some villages don’t have enough staff, and some don’t have enough transportation, so we couldn’t get the exact numbers in time,” said an official.

But U Aung Naing Oo, a member of a local election observer group, said, “This is the third time they’ve released a voter list. They said there were more than 100,000 migrant workers to be added, and everything takes time. Are there really not enough staff?”

The Mandalay Region election commission estimates the number of eligible voters in Mandalay Region at more than 4.4 million.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun