By THE NATION
Two polling stations – the first and fifth – with a few hundred eligible voters in Khon Kaen’s Nam Phong district recounted the ballots yesterday following an order by the Election Commission (EC).
In the first polling station, the voter turnout was 324, matching the total ballot count. Of these, 304 were found valid, two were no votes and 17 were invalid.
The previous mistake appeared to be with the invalid ballots, officials said, adding that previously the referee had marked 18 invalid ballots, which resulted in the inconsistency.
The recount in the fifth polling station also found the ballots and voter turnout tallied at 624. There were 587 valid ballots, 33 invalid and four no votes.
The recount showed that Phalang Pracharat candidate Kitti Kamkankoon may have gained one wrongful vote in the previous count.
The recount in both stations did not change the initial results, with Pheu Thai candidate Jatuporn Charoencheu winning the constituency. No objections were raised after the recount.
The ballots from both stations yesterday were counted in the district’s town hall with hundreds of people, including politicians and party representatives, observing the event.
EC commissioner Chatchai Chanpraisri said yesterday the recount had gone smoothly and transparently.
The new results will later be submitted to the EC and the agency will endorse the overall results on May 9, he said, adding that the previous inconsistencies in the two polling stations were believed to have been caused by officials marking the wrong boxes.
In addition to the recounts at these two stations, the agency has also ordered six polling stations to hold fresh elections after the number of ballots and voters did not tally.
Elections will be held this Sunday in some constituencies of Lampang, Yasothon, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok and Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district.
Three of the affected polling stations were in constituencies won by Pheu Thai Party and two by Phalang Pracharat.
However, with each station having only a few hundred or thousand votes in races where the winner and runners-up had tens of thousand, the re-elections are unlikely to change the results at the constituency level.
Yet, if a significant number of voters change their minds, it is still possible they could affect the number of eventual party-list MPs.
It was also observed that voter turnout might drop due to the lack of publicity.
A number of people might be unaware of the re-election and miss the opportunity to cast their ballots.