Democrats' Thailand-first e-vote fails on forgotten setting

Democrats' Thailand-first e-vote fails on forgotten setting

Democrat Party members wait in vain for the electronic-voting system to wake up, so they could select the new party leader. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Democrat Party members wait in vain for the electronic-voting system to wake up, so they could select the new party leader. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Democrat Party was forced to postpone Thursday's planned e-voting at northern and central plains branches to select the man who will lead them into the general election - because someone forgot to set the clock.

Thailand's oldest party was all set for historic electronic voting to begin at branches in Bangkok, the North and the Central Plains at 8am on Thursday.

Instead, members were left waiting. The Raspberry Pi computer-based voting system failed to function.

Red-faced Chumpol Kanjana and Thana Cheerawinit, the party's election officials, apologised to members nationwide from headquarters in Bangkok.

It turned out the party's IT staff had carefully prepared in advance for the use of electronic voting for the first time in Thailand, except for one small detail. They forgot to adjust the system's time zone, from British time (GMT) to Thai time.

Consequently the system would have been operative from 3pm on Thursday to 1am on Friday, because  Britain is seven hours behind Thailand.

The party therefore cancelled the voting procedure, and staff were returning the devices to headquarters, where they would be re-set to Thai time. They will try again on Nov 9.

The e-vote will go ahead, as earlier scheduled, in the South and the Northeast on Nov 5.

Online voting by party members using an Android-based mobile phone app proceeded as planned on Thursday.

There are three contenders for the leadership - incumbent Abhisit Vejjajiva, former party deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot, and former Democrat Phitsanulok MP Warong Dechgitvigrom.


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