Early vote met with euphoria

Early vote met with euphoria

Glitches reported at some voting booths

Voters lined up for two hours to vote at the Matthayom Ban Bang Kapi School in Bangkok's Bang Kapi district. At this centre alone, 61,000-plus voters waited on line to vote. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Voters lined up for two hours to vote at the Matthayom Ban Bang Kapi School in Bangkok's Bang Kapi district. At this centre alone, 61,000-plus voters waited on line to vote. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Sunday's advance voting saw huge crowds waiting in long queues to vote at polling stations nationwide, as an estimated 75% of all registered early voters nationwide turned up to cast their vote ahead of Sunday's general election.

Election Commission (EC) deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul said that more than 2.6 million registered advance voters nationwide participated in the advance voting, which was held from 8am to 5pm.

A total of 928,789 voters from across the country registered to vote in advance in Bangkok. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had set up a total of 77 polling units with 308 polling booths to facilitate the process.

Bangkok's Bang Kapi district recorded the highest number of registered advance voters at 61,401 -- 82% of which turned up to the cast their ballots.

Bang Khunthian district came in second with 42,508 registered advance voters, followed by 40,816 in Huai Khwang, 39,448 in Lat Krabang, 35,108 in Bang Khen, 33,957 in Ratchathewi and 31,846 in Watthana.

Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, the Privy Council president, voted in advance at a polling station at Sukhothai School in Bangkok's Dusit district, where the 98-year-old statesman arrived at 9.56am in a wheelchair.

In Surat Thani, a heavily-pregnant woman was rushed to hospital to give birth as soon as she casted her voted at a polling booth in Ban Nasan district.

Siriporn Kaewprasit, 34, from tambon Na Pradu of Pattani's Khok Pho district, was waiting in a long line to vote at a polling station when she suddenly went into labour.

Surrounded by other advance voters who gave her emotional support, officials then helped her to jump to the front of the queue and moved her into a voting cubicle.

She was then rushed safely to Ban Nasan Hospital's delivery room.

A total of 1,295 people registered for advance voting at the polling station where Ms Siriporn casted her vote.

Meanwhile, EC chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong and his entourage visited Chon Buri to inspect the advance voting there.

At the Bang Lamung district office, a total of 62 polling stations were set up for 52,126 advance voters from all over the country.

The number of early voters in Bang Lamung is the second highest in the country, after Bangkok's Bang Kapi district.

EC secretary-general Pol Col Jarungvith Phumma said some glitches were reported in several polling stations.

Some polling stations were moved, and several of the new venues could not accommodate the high voter turnouts, he said, adding that officials at several polling stations gave out incorrect ballot papers, so some voters ended up receiving ballot papers for the wrong constituencies.

Many eager voters showed up to cast their ballots.

"I finally have a chance to cast my vote as I've waited for many years," said 38-year-old Jittima Chavalitnimitkul at Bangkok's Ratchathewi district office.

First-time voter Somkamol Naraprasit, 23, was one of the first in line at the polling booth at Suan Luang district office.

"I woke up at 6am to avoid the traffic jam. I want to do my part for the country," she said.



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