Poll officer counts votes
An elections official counts the ballots at a polling station in Tarmwe township in Yangon during Saturday’s by-elections. Observers say voting went smoothly but polling stations could still be improved.
A LOCAL election-watch group said on Sunday the voting process for the recently-concluded by-elections took place smoothly but noted there needs to be improvement in the polling stations.
The People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE) also noted that polling officers still lack understanding of the role of election observers.
A key improvement needed in polling stations is access to voters with disabilities, said PACE spokesperson Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint.
He also said that polling station officers must have a clear idea of their duties and responsibilities.
“There were incidents where observers were not allowed to observe the elections initially because of confusion among polling station officials. While it may not have a big impact in these by-elections, it is important to have more effective training for polling station officers for the 2020 general elections,” U Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint.
PACE noted in its initial report on Saturday’s by-elections that in about 96 percent of polling stations, all the elections observers were allowed to enter before the start of the vote.
It was only in about 4pc of the polling stations that observers were prevented from monitoring the procedures.
In locations where observers encountered problems, they were incorrectly asked by polling station officials to provide Form 8, which is the assignment form for party agents.
U Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint said the Union Elections Commission was more successful in managing last year’s by-elections than this year’s vote, noting that the results in this year’s elections were not confirmed one day after voting.
But Khin Lay Nge, a member of another local election watch group Phan Tee Eain, said, “It is worth to acknowledge that there is more gender equality among polling station members in these by-elections compared with previous elections.”
PACE and Phan Tee Eain (PTE) deployed 579 observers in 12 townships to monitor the running of the by-elections for 12 vacant seats. From reports received thus far, all PACE and PTE observers were able to observe the process.
PACE is an independent, nonpartisan, non-government domestic election observer group working to promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in the electoral process.
PACE mainly works on civic and voter education, election observation and electoral reform.