Voters Denied the Chance to Vote for Ethnic Affairs Minister in Taunggyi

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Voters and polling station officers had a dispute over the ballots for the ethnic affairs ministerial post the Shan State capital of Taunggyi on the morning of election day.

Taunggyi Polling station
Taunggyi Polling station

Two voters complained that they were not given a ballot to vote for a Shan State ethnic affairs minister when they voted at 6:30 a.m. at Polling Station 3 in Region 7 of the city’s Sao San Htun ward on November 8.

Up for election were Akha, Bamar, Intha, Kachin, Kayan, Lisu and Lahu ethnic affairs ministers.

One of the voters, Myat Ko Ko Aung, holds identification documents listing him as an ethnic Bamar, and Wai Wai Aung is listed as ethnic Inn, or Intha. While both should have been allowed to vote for their respective ethnic affairs minister, they said that they were handed three ballots each instead of four.

The ballots were to vote for a parliamentarian for the Lower House, Upper House, and the state parliament.

“I was supposed to cast four ballots. I could cast only three ballots. We have lost our citizenship rights,” Myat Ko Ko Aung told SHAN. “The polling station officer didn’t understand the procedure. I talked with polling station about it. He doesn’t take responsibility. Why is he a polling station officer here?”

Wai Wai Aung said that the same mistake happened to her.

“I am an ethnic Inn person: I have to cast four ballots. Now I am not able to cast my ballot for my favorite party,” she told SHAN of being denied the chance to choose an ethnic affairs minister.

While an officer from the township election commission came to address the issue, both voters were not given a fourth ballot.

SHAN reached out to the township election commission to discuss the dispute, but the officer did not want to comment.

A total of 7,280 people registered to cast their ballots in six polling stations in Taunggyi’s Sao San Htun ward in the general election on Sunday.  

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