Rainy relief forecast for Thai Election Day, but bigger concerns loom

Photo: Election Commission of Thailand
Photo: Election Commission of Thailand

For those living outside of their official registered address, Sunday was the day to vote, but there’s one more Sunday to go, May 14, to put a pin in this election. Kicking off on one of the hottest days of the year and not free of controversy, the first day of voting yielded a few lessons for Election Day.  

One reporter voting at Wat That Thong next to BTS Ekkamai was greeted by a big crowd at 8:30am and ended up waiting 90 minutes in 37C heat. And they weren’t the only ones. There were reports of over a dozen voters fainting in the heat at Ramkhamhaeng University. 

A record-breaking 2.2 million people voted on Sunday, and social media was agog with posts about the lines and crowds. The Election Commission reported that the average wait time was about 4 minutes, but not everyone was so lucky. Though rains are expected to cool the city off a bit—33C is the high forecast for Sunday—those planning to vote should still bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and water—and maybe a Kindle or book to keep entertained while queuing.

Given the possibility of long lines, voters should be sure to double check they’ve arrived at the correct polling station – and that their name is registered there. 

Remember, voters, there are two ballots—one green and one purple. The green is for voting for the party-list MP, and the ballot comes with all the party names next to the numbers. The purple is for your local district candidate; there are no names next to the numbers, so make sure you know exactly which number to vote for. 

Your ID card is the most important thing of all, and it works even if expired. Drivers’ licenses and passports are also acceptable, as are electronic identification cards using the ThaiID app, DLT QR Licence, and applications for people with disabilities—but, honestly, why risk it?

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

Even with ID, a number of stories have drawn attention online on the protection of ballots. Around 50 envelopes were mislabeled in Nonthaburi; though election authorities said they rectified the problems and insisted they would not repeat. Mislabeled envelopes were also reported in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, and Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as polling stations in Rangsit and the Siam Paragon shopping mall. Vote voyeurs can watch their ballots 24/7 via government surveillance cameras.

Still, Sunday could go smoothly – or not. The credibility of the last election in 2019 was put in doubt after the results were not released after polls closed as promised. The final tally was were not released for another 45 days.

Other than worry, be sure to sign papers given by the poll workers, do your thing in the booth, put the ballots in envelopes, have the staff member sign, and then put it in the box. Congratulations, citizen, see you on the other side. 

You can also check out our illustration for some pre-election tips here, too.A version of this story originally appeared in BK Magazine.


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