The military regime has started collecting voter data for the forthcoming national election to be held later this year.
A 30-year-old man from Taunggyi, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals, said he didn’t recognise any race held under the dictatorship. “I trusted the 2020 general election, but I don’t trust the upcoming one by the military junta because it stole power from the civilian government.” He said he will refuse to cast his vote because it won’t be fair.
The regime overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in February 2021, although the party of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate won a landslide victory. Military chief Min Aung Hlaing claimed voting fraud but couldn’t produce sufficient evidence before seizing power and imprisoning many of the lawmakers on the very same day they were to be sworn in and many more in the days that followed.
For the upcoming race, the junta was supposed to start collecting information on eligible voters in Shan State on 9 January, but in the town of Muse, which lies on the Chinese border, officials started earlier in the month, according to a local who declined to give his name.
Another man from Tachileik, who also requested anonymity, said regime officials in Tachileik and Kengtung districts in eastern Shan State started on time. SHAN has learned that authorities are also going door-to-door in Taunggyi and Loilem districts in the southern state and in Hsipaw township in the north.
“They are collecting a list of eligible voters as well as checking household family registrations. If a family doesn’t report to the village or district chief that someone outside the family is staying with them, they’re punished and have to pay a fine,” a woman from Hsipaw who wishes to remain anonymous told SHAN. She says they have to report this information every month.