On the day before Burma’s November 8 election, candidates from two major Shan parties shared concerns with SHAN about the reliability of the country’s advanced voting process.
Sai Mon Lern, who is competing on behalf of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) for a State Assembly seat in Mong Nai Township, said that he has doubts about the validity of the electoral process.
“What they [the Election Commission] are doing is not transparent,” he said. “We requested that they use glue to stick the ballot bags closed in order to keep the ballots safe, but we were denied that by the Election Commission.”
He said that electoral officials told him this practice could damage the marked ballots.
Sai Mon Lern’s concerns also extend to the ballot boxes, where completed votes are submitted; he alleged that no one knows where the advanced voters’ ballots are kept after they have been collected.
Problems have also been reported in Mong Yang Township within Kengtung District, in eastern Shan State.
“There are a lot of tokens left, so I’m worried that anyone can take them and cast a vote,” said Sai Laung, a candidate from the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) in Mong Yang Township, referring to the registration papers given to eligible voters.
He said that in order to avoid fraud, SNDP had requested that voters bring their national ID cards along with the token when they cast their ballots. But, he alleged that election officials are no longer requiring additional ID, and that the token can serve as sufficient identification to vote.
Both Sai Mon Lern (SNLD) and Sai Laung (SNDP) claimed that the names of deceased people have reportedly been found on voting lists, but often the people currently living in the location in question are not included. There are a lot of mistakes, they said, involving names, parents’ names, ages and ID numbers, which are all required for voter registration in Burma.
According to a report on Tai Freedom’s Shan Language website on Saturday, in Mongpeng Township within Kengtung District, the names of the deceased allegedly surfaced as participants during the advanced voting process.
“I don’t think it is a free and fair election,” Sai Mon Lern said.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)