A 59-year-old man was arrested at a polling station in Bang Kholaem district yesterday after tearing a ballot paper, police said.
Somdech Tiansuwan cast his vote on the ballot paper, tore it into two and was about to drop the torn papers in a ballot box at polling unit No 13 in Soi Matanusorn when election staff approached him.
Mr Somdech was taken to Wat Phraya Krai police station for questioning.
He said he tore the paper because he misunderstood he was supposed to vote for a candidate and a party, as in a general election. In the July 2011 general election, voters were given two ballot papers _ one for the party list system and the other for the constituency system.
Mr Somdech said he did not mean to break the law. "There was no one around to advise me. There was no bulletin board explaining the voting procedure. "I thought it was similar to the general election," he said.
Pol Maj Gen Adul Narongsak, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said Mr Somdech was initially charged with damaging a ballot paper _ an offence carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of 20,000 baht, and a five-year ban from exercising his political rights.
However, he said the suspect would be questioned thoroughly to find out why he confused the governor election with the general election. Police might drop the charge if convinced Mr Somdech did not act with malicious intent.
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- Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham