Unofficial poll results 'same night'
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Unofficial poll results 'same night'

EC takes flak for end of 'real-time' tallies

People walk past an election campaign poster erected along Tanao Road in Bangkok on Jan 29, 2023. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
People walk past an election campaign poster erected along Tanao Road in Bangkok on Jan 29, 2023. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The Election Commission (EC) insists the unofficial results of the general election tentatively scheduled for May 7 will be known the same night.

The poll agency is under fire following media reports that it has decided to scrap real-time updates of the vote tallies.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee said on Friday that reporting the unofficial results had not been ditched when he was pressed about the issue.

Asked if they would be provided in "real time", he said once the vote count at polling stations is done and all the information verified, the results will be posted at the stations and broadcast on the EC's website.

"The vote tallies will also be keyed into a system set up for reporting unofficial results, known as the 'ECT Report' system. The public can't directly access this," he said.

Media outlets, however, will be given access, and they can share the unofficial results with the public," he added.

In the 2019 general election, a "Rapid Report" application was used in reporting the unofficial results. Officials at each polling unit put the tallies into the Rapid Report system.

"Those officials worked more than 18 hours that day, and they were prone to making errors. We don't want that to happen again, so we've chosen this method," Mr Sawaeng said.

The EC secretary-general said measures would be put in place to ensure that ballots from overseas arrive in time to be counted.

In the most recent election, all 1,542 ballot cards from New Zealand were classified as "cannot be counted" after they failed to reach the constituencies where the votes were being counted in time.

Meanwhile, the court has accepted an EC request for a ruling on whether non-Thai citizens can be included in the calculation formula. It is expected to hand down a ruling on March 3.

Criticism prompted the EC to seek a court ruling.

If the EC has to recalculate, the number of constituency MPs in eight provinces is expected to change. Tak, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Samut Sakhon will have fewer MPs, while Udon Thani, Lop Buri, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Pattani will be allocated more.

Mr Sawaeng said the electoral map, which depends on the court's ruling, is expected to be announced ten days before the House of Representatives' term ends on March 23.

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