Oops! Election Commission totally sure latest SNAFU won’t affect vote

Photo: Election Commission
Photo: Election Commission

Thailand’s election referees say not to worry about Sunday’s election, as they have fixed the latest in a long series of unforced errors made since they were all replaced by the military.

Election commissioners said it had rectified problems with votes cast Sunday in advance voting after poll workers mistakenly marked about 100 ballots with the wrong information.

Alarm spread throughout Sunday after advance voting was held nationwide, as complaints spread about incorrect data for constituencies and provinces being recorded in at least two provinces: Chiang Mai and Nonthaburi.

It led fears that some votes not be counted by Election Day on Saturday and affect the final count. Other complaints came from voters who were unable to find their names at their designated polling stations, and QR codes not functioning to confirm votes.

Election chief Saewang Boonmee said the problems were all fixed after voting closed at 5pm.

Saewang said voters’ ballots would be counted and ensured that there was no intentional misconduct to spoil the vote.

Calls came online for legal action to hold the commission accountable, with hashtags such as #WhyIsThereACommittee and #ElectionCommissionMustGoToPrison trending on Thai Twitter.

The Move Forward Party said it would hold a news conference later today calling for transparency ahead of Election Day.

The commission has been plagued by missteps since the junta disbanded it and appointed new members in 2017, two years before the first post-coup election was held in 2019. 

In April, the commission had to apologize when its voter registration system crashed. 

In 2019, the commission refused to accredit independent observers and lost some of the ballots cast by Thais overseas. The credibility of that election was put in doubt after the commission announced hours after polls closed that it would not disclose the results, as promised. The results were not released for another 45 days.

More than 2.3 million voters cast their votes one week before the general election is held Sunday. In Bangkok, more than 800,000 voters had registered to vote early.


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