Thousands of eligible voters in southern Shan State have not been able to vote in today’s national election, according to a candidate from the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) in Namzang Township.
Sai Htan Sein, of the SNDP, observed voting processes in Namzang’s Loi Yai and Wan Pong Sub-Townships. He told SHAN that many people who possess national IDs and family records are being told that they cannot vote.
“There are over 70,000 people in Namzang Township who are eligible to vote. But many of them, particularly in remote areas, are unable to vote,” Sai Htan Sein said. “They are very disappointed.”
He explained that there are many reasons why people might be left off of the list of eligible voters, including a lack of proper identification, which is a common problem for those in rural areas. Some people reportedly only have family records, rather than an ID card, leaving them ineligible to vote.
Sai Htan Sein described the election process as “complicated,” and alleged that while citizens currently living in villages in Shan State are being made ineligible to vote, those who live in Thailand are still eligible to vote.
However, last week, SHAN reported on the marginalization of Shan migrant workers in Thailand during the election period. Legally, voters must have resided in their homes for 180 days prior to the election, making it difficult for migrants to vote.
There have also been inconsistencies reported in overall household eligibility, where some family members are told they are eligible to vote, and others are disqualified.
Sai Kyaw Win, a Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) parliamentary candidate in Namzang Township, said that in addition to a high number of disqualified voters, there are voters who have been deemed eligible even though there are mistakes on the voter list regarding their name or gender.
“We are not satisfied, but we can’t do anything,” said Sai Htan Sein.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)