Police tighten security as ballot papers transported to districts

Tight security accompanied the delivery of ballot papers for the Bangkok governor election to 50 district offices on Friday.

  • Published: 23/02/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Ballot papers for the Bangkok governor election are laid out to be inspected by Bangkok Election Commission officers at the Territorial Defence Volunteer Printing House in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district. The ballots were delivered to the capital’s 50 district offices yesterday ahead of the vote on March 3. APICHIT JINAKUL

District officers collected the papers from the Territorial Defence Volunteer Printing House under the Interior Ministry's Provincial Administration Department in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district at 9am yesterday.

Police officers closely supervised the operation.

The number of papers allocated to each district was kept in line with the number of eligible voters.

Bangkok Election Commission (EC) Office Director Veera Yee-prae said the papers would be kept in each district office under heavy guard.

Surveillance cameras and police officers will monitor the ballots around the clock to ensure there is no foul play.

The ballot papers will also be stamped with secret symbols by EC officers, meaning they can be traced if they are used in districts other than the ones they are assigned to, he said. The candidates are also permitted to send representatives to observe where ballot papers are kept, he added.

Voting will take place from 8am to 3pm on March 3.

Counting will begin at each polling station from 3.30pm, Mr Veera said, adding that the count should take no more than one hour as each station deals with only about 800 voters.

The ballot papers and results are expected to be delivered to each district office no later than 6pm, and the unofficial results will be announced about 9pm, he added.

Mr Veera said candidates may know the result in advance if they send representatives to observe the vote counting at the more than 6,000 polling stations citywide. The results will not be made official until they receive EC endorsement.

The Democrat and Pheu Thai parties have already requested that their representatives be present for the count.

Pheu Thai candidate Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen remains favourite to take out the race, according to the latest Bangkok University poll released yesterday.

The poll questioned 1,637 eligible voters between Feb 11 and Feb 17.

Asked which candidate they wanted to win, 35% of respondents said Pol Gen Pongsapat, while 28% backed Democrat runner Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

Just over 18% were undecided while 10% preferred not to respond.

Those who supported Pol Gen Pongsapat and MR Sukhumbhand were also asked whether there was a chance their choice might change before election day - 16% of MR Sukhumbhand supporters said there was a chance, while 18.5% of those backing Pol Gen Pongsapat said they could still be swayed.

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Writer: Pongpat Wongyala
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