Poll body expects voter turnout above 80%
published : 10 May 2023 at 05:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Post Reporters
The Election Commission (EC) expects voter turnout will top 80% for this Sunday's general election as it ramps up its campaign to raise awareness of the poll.
Led by EC Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong, it launched the Big Day campaign on Tuesday outside City Hall in Bangkok to motivate the electorate to cast their ballots.
City Hall reported that voter turnout for last Sunday's advance voting in Bangkok was 91.81%, above the 87% seen during the same stage of the March 2019 poll.
Mr Ittiporn said he hoped the campaign would encourage more people to vote. He advised people to study the election rules beforehand to prevent dud ballots.
The EC is working to make sure those do not exceed 2% of all ballots cast this Sunday.
It said the blunders encountered during advance voting last weekend would not render the election being declared null and void.
Mr Ittiporn said the EC is ready to face an investigation over the errors since the commission conducted the advance voting in good faith.
The poll agency drew flak over its organisation of the May 7 advance voting.
One mistake involved officials at a voting station putting postal codes instead of electoral constituency codes on some 100 envelopes of cast ballots.
The commission gave its assurances that none of the ballots cast would be lost despite the mistake. The envelopes containing the wrong codes will be checked against the logbook of registered voters, Mr Ittiporn said.
He said the commission would do its best to prevent any repeat this weekend.
He added the EC did not feel it was under undue pressure. Rather, the agency was glad that people were keeping tabs on its work to help streamline its efficiency.
"Without the monitoring from the people and the media, the EC might not be able to deliver such a complete job," he said.
The EC is also investigating the poll fraud complaints it has received so far, he noted.
In total, 101 complaints have been submitted to the EC. Among them, 38 are related to vote buying and 34 to alleged mudslinging campaigns.
Provincial election offices have up to 20 days to wrap up their investigations into the complaints. However, those probes can be extended for another 15 days.
The EC chairman said none of the investigations should be rushed.