Charter referendum as it happens
Today, Thais go to polling stations to decide Thailand's fate. The Nation sums up key events here as they happen.
9:00pm: The Nation would like to thank our readers for following our update. Since, the EC has stopped reporting the unofficial results, we have to end our coverage now. We hope to provide you another coverage for the election next year. Good Night!
8:30pm: Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn says the voter turnout of the94-per cent unofficial results stands at 58 per cent.
EC commissioner Pravich Rattanapian says the EC expected the turnout to be 60 per cent, three per cent higher than 2007's.
8.20pm: Red shirt leaders Jatuporn Promphan and Nattawut Saikua say they accept the result but continue to fight for democracy.
8.11pm: Pheu Thai Party executives say voters approve the draft because they wanted an election to be held early. In their press conference at party headquarters, they say voter turnout this time is low or around 50 per cent. It was lower than the previous referendum in 2007 which was 57 per cent, party secretary general Phumtham Wechayachai says.
He says the party would continue to fight for democracy but refused to say whether they will run in an election under the draft they opposed or not.
8.00pm: Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchupan holds a press conference to thank Thai people for coming out to vote to accept the charter draft while urging them to forget what happened during the referendum process.
He says any hurtful words that some people directed to the CDC or on a contrary the CDC made against them should be forgotten and left behind so that all parties could move forward following the passage of the charter draft at the referendum.
7:33pm: The Election Commission announces the ballot count has done by 94 per cent and the results show that 61 per cent of the voters accept the draft constitution and 58 per cent give “Yes” vote for the additional question. The EC says the referendum law allows it to report only 94 per cent of unofficial results.
7.15pm: Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn says after 90 per cent vote count, the turnout is around 55 per cent.
6:30pm: The ballot count has been completed by 82 per cent and 61 per cent give “Yes” vote to the draft constitution while 58 per cent accept the additional question. The charter draft win approval in all regions, except the Northeast where most voters reject the draft.
6:05pm: The ballot count for the North has been completed by 66 per cent and both the charter draft and additional question receive overwhelming support.
Vote count in the Central has been done by 60 per cent, the “Yes” votes beat the “No” votes overwhelmingly for both questions.
6:00pm: The ballot count at 3,739 of 6,745 Bangkok polling stations have been done and 69.32 per cent of voters support the draft constitution while 30.68 per cent reject it.
The count finds 65.88 per cent of voters support the additional question while 34.12 per cent disagree with it.
6:00pm: The EC announces that ballot count so far finds 706,355 voters support the charter draft and 311,913 voters reject it. The tally finds 656,862 ballots support additional question while 339,508 voters disagree with it. The count finds that 1,043,145 ballots are valid and 16,638 others invalid.
6:00pm: Vote count has been done by 62 per cent in the South and most voters support both the charter and the additional question.
The count has been completed by 60 per cent for the Northeast and both questions receive overwhelming support.
5.45 pm: More than 50 per cent of the ballots have been counted nationwide and 62 per cent of the ballots approve the draft while 38 per cent reject it. The result shows 58.63 per cent support the additional question while 41.37 per cent disagree with it.
The results indicate most voters who gave “Yes” vote for the draft also gave “Yes” vote for the additional question while those who voted against the draft also rejected the additional question.
5.30pm: When 39 per cent of votes in northeast have been counted, the result shows “no” votes outnumber “yes’ votes on the charter draft with a slight margin or around 51: 48 per cent. For the additional question, the count shows the “no” votes account for 55 per cent and the “yes” votes 44 per cent of the counted ballots.
5.20 pm: Sirawith Seritiwat or New, a prominent anti-junta activist, posts on his facebook "No matter what the referendum result is, I will continue fighting against NCPO, the dictator"
5.20pm: When 27 per cent of nationwide votes have been counted, 62.31 per cent approve the draft while 37.9 per cent reject it.
5.15pm: The Election Commission thanks the public as no selfies or photo taking cases have been reported.
5.04pm: Early ballot counting in Bangkok shows the charter draft and additional question receive overwhelming support. At the count of 12,000 votes, the two questions receive over 70 per cent of support from voters.
4.45pm: Nation TV simultaneously broadcast vote count at polling stations of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra. It shows that “yes” votes are far ahead of the “no” votes for both questions.
4.40pm: EC Somchai Srisutthiyakorn predicts voter turnout could be as high as 70 per cent, higher than 57 per cent in the 2007 referendum. Official result will come on Wednesday or August 10.
4.30pm: The New Democracy Movement's event "Referendum Monitoring" starts at Thammasat University. Some attendees at the event voice concerns that there may be some fraud on the result and urge all the people to keep watching the ballot counting.
4.25pm: Election Commission says it hops the people would accept the result no matter how it is.
4.20pm: Five Constitution Drafting Commission members, led by chairman Meechai Ruchuphan, observe vote counting process at a polling booth at Phanthawattana School.
4.15pm: The EC announces that there are cases of ballot tearing in 14 provinces. It says the referendum results will be known by 9pm tonight.
4.00 pm: Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchupan says he expects a hundred per cent of turnout of eligible voters for today's referendum.
When asked that many people appear to not understand an additional question on whether all Houses in the Parliament should be empowered to select Prime Minister, Meechai said, "There's no wonder. I also think that the question is too complicated."
Meechai meets other four CDC members before travelling to observe a nearby polling station at Phantawattana school together.
4:00pm: Polling stations are closed.
3:00pm: Staffs, lecturers and students in Khon Kaen University still make long queues at three polling stations in the campus. There are 30,000 eligible voters as residents of the university. Officials said if the voters in the queues cannot meet the deadline at 4 pm, they will be allowed to vote after 4pm.
3:00pm: Police reports from 8 am to 3 pm say there have been 10 cases of ballot tearing. Police said nine of them were cases of misunderstanding. The tenth case was an intentionally committed by a political activist to protest against the junta.
2:00pm: Lamphun election officials are confident the province will become the province with the highest voter turnout again after having won the honour for 11 consecutive times. The officials say the voter turnout in the province for the referendum has so far been about 60 per cent.
2:00pm: Deputy Police Commissioner General Pol Gen Sriwarah Rangsipramkul says he will hold a meeting to evaluate the situation of law keeping after the polling stations are closed at 4pm. He said he will hold a press conference at 8pm to announce the overall situation on the referendum day.
He adds that the situation from 8 am to 2 pm has been in good order. He speaks to reporters after he inspected 30 polling stations around Bangkok.
1.40pm: it is quiet referendum day at the polling station in Wat Iam Woranuch Temple in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon District, as only few people come out to cast ballot.
However, the officer at polling station discloses that as of now around 200 voters out of 521 legitimate voters at this station have showed up.
1:30pm: Ex-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra makes merit at a a temple in Bangkok's district of Lad Krabang after casting a referendum vote Sunday morning.
"I'm making merit by releasing fish at a Lad Krabang temple," a caption in Yingluck's instagram photo said "May I distribute the merits to everyone.
The photo showed Yingluck herself smiling, posting with her supporters with bread in her hands, ready to feed fish in the temple.
1.15pm: Two hours until the voting stations close, Election Commission’s Boonyakiat Rakchartchaoren urges voters to turn out, exercise their rights, and ‘do not tear up the ballot’.
12.30pm Police arrest For Friends Association leader Piyarat Chongthep for intentionally tearing apart a ballot and brings him to Bang Na Police Station, according to pro-democracy activist Songtham Kaewpanpruk's post on Facebook.
Poyarat is arrested after he shouts "May dictatorship fall, may democracy prosper" and intentionally tears a ballot at a pollibg station in Bangkok's Bang Na district. He also wares a black T-shirt printed with "No Coup" wordings.
12:30pm: Half day recap: The weather is good. The vote in referendum day goes well. There is no violence or disruption reported during the vote. But there is one concern which is the ballot tearing as voters are confused and think the ballot was meant to be divided into two parts before they would be dropped into the ballot box.
Top personalities have cast their votes. High Turnout is seen at military’s polling booths.
So far, no voters face charged of catching Pokemon monsters inside the polling booths.
And thumb up is given to active voters who share their thumb with ink mark photo on social media as a proof that they have already cast their vote.
12.15pm: Boonyakiat Rakchartcharoen, Election Commission's acting secretary general, says the EC is investigating several cases of ballot tearing. The prosecutors may not bring the cases to court if it finds the voters did not intend to damage the ballot, he says.
So far, ten cases of ballot tearing have been reported during the first half of the voting day. The action violated article 59 of the referendum law, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to Bt20,000. Some violators, however, have been found to misunderstand how to vote and have no intention to instigate unrest or cause disturbance to the referendum.
Boonyakiart adds that the EC has instructed officials at the polling station to also explain to voters that the ballot is not to be torn apart.
11.20 am: A polling staff at the sixth polling station in Dusit district, Bangkok, fails to provide clear explanation on topics of the referendum to potential vote casters.
Polling staffs are assigned to provide instruction on voting ballot to voters as well as to explain and simplify questions on the ballot, especially the four-lined second question asking whether the Prime Minister should be chosen by the two-joint House and Senate members.
One staff is heard explaining the second question, "The second question asks whether you would like the Parliament to choose the PM. Mark an "x" in a left box if you would like to accept [the condition] and mark "x" in a right box if you wouldn't like to accept it."
But when asked by The Nation who in the Parliament would be authorized to select the PM if the topic is passed, the staff replies, "I don't know."
11.15am: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will hold an informal meeting tomorrow to discuss referendum result, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam says after casting a ballot.
The meeting will gather opinions before discussing in a joint meeting between the Cabinet and National Council for Peace and Order on Tuesday.
“The joint meeting will have a clear direction of the next step whether the charter draft passes or fails to pass the referendum,” he says.
11am: A 67-year-old man is arrested in Chon Buri's Sattahib district after he tore his ballot into two parts out of misunderstanding. After his arrest, Boondej Jomkaew tells police that he thought the ballot was meant to be divided into two parts before they would be dropped into the ballot box.
11am: The Government shares interesting photos to Line group of Government House reporters. The photos taken at 10am US time, show Thai people in Los Angeles gathering and encouraging their fellows in Thailand to go vote in the plebiscite, despite absence of rights to vote in today's referendum.
The referendum bill does not stipulate that polling booths must be held overseas as explained by authority that the charter draft, if enacted, will be effective in the Thai territory only.
10.52am: More cases of ballot tearing are coming. Nation TV reports that some voters are confused and tear the ballot into two parts because they misunderstand that it had to be divided before it would be returned to the officials. Election Commission and Police say they will consider the intention before deciding to press charge or not.
10.30am: At the 28th polling station in Bangkok's Wang Thong Lang district, red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan takes part in today's referendumin to make a decision on the nation's fate.
10.30 am: Soldiers from Signal Company make a long queue to vote at Military Circle 11 Flat polling station.
All of the soldiers state that they come to vote because their commander told them to and many of them admit that they do not understand the draft constitution.
10.00am: A male voter with a disfigured led that prompts him to limp complains to a staff at Ban Bang Khae polling booth that why the booth is far from his home. It is very difficult for him to travel to the station due to his physical condition.
"Whose policy to set up a polling station here [at Bangkok's Ban Bang Kae Home for Older Persons]?"
"Why not set up a booth in an area near by my house so that I could go cast ballot more conveniently? Do I need to come here again in the next election?" he questions before angrily getting away.
To this, the official apologises and says he would take this issue to consideration.
9:30 am: Thongchai McIntyre or Bird casts his vote in the national referendum Sunday morning. He votes at a polling station in Sukjai housing estate on Soi Wachiratham Sathit 43 off Soi Sukhumvit 101/1.
9.30am: Trang province Election Commission (EC) decides to key numbers of vote counting manually as a backup plan after the quick reporting system or “Rapid Report app for unofficial poll results of the Election Commission has been down all over the country less than 24 hours before the referendum.
9.20:am: An elderly shows her thumb with ink mark after voting at a polling booth at Ban Bang Khae, home for older persons. She flashes her smile and laughs on her wheel-chair when a volunteer student wheeled and escorted her out of the booth.
9:15am: Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchuphan votes at his polling station in at the Wat Phasuk School in Muang Thong Thani Chaeng Wattana at 9:15 am.
After he casts his vote, Meechai urges voters to come out to vote to determine the nation's future. “I see that the referendum atmosphere is very exciting. I've been in this for a long time but I am still excited. It's not often to have a good and exciting in our life so we should come out to vote,” Meechai says.
9.10am: Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha casts his vote at the 12th polling booth in Soi Pradipat 5. After casting his vote, Prayut encourages Thai people to go voting.
"I would like people to come out and vote. This is our country's future that everyone takes part in," Prayut says.
"Please go vote and make a history record of this so Thailand can achieve standard of democracy and don't worry about the rain. If it rains hard, we should go to vote even harder," he says.
9.10am: Thai social media users are always active when it comes to an important day. Yesterday, the first launch of Pokemon Go game in Thailand, social media timelines were flooded with screen captures of the game. Today, the referendum day, it becomes a new trend for them to show off their thump with ink mark as a proof that they have already cast their vote.
9:00am Yaowapa Wongsawat, a sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and a former Pheu Thai MP, votes at the polling station No 6 in Chiang Mai's Mueang district. She declines to give any interview after the vote.
8.35am: A mackerel vendor seller walks pass in front of a polling booth in Soi Pradipat 5, where Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will come to vote this morning. The smiling seller, however, says that he will not go cast a ballot as he is too busy with his business.
8.34am: Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda casts his vote at a polling booth in Sukhothai School, Dusit district, Bangkok. He later urges Thai people to reconcile and leave political conflicts behind.
8:50am: A 54-year-old woman is arrested at polling station in Bang Na district at 8:50 am for tearing the ballot in half. Molruedee Amsakul tells officials that she notices the dot line dividing the two questions and the two parts of the ballot were printed in different colours so she thinks she had to divide them along the line before dropping them into two boxes.
She is arrested when she asks official where she could drop the second half of the ballot.
08.30 am: The Nation has learnt that US Embassy in Thailand sends its officials and observers to "unofficially" observe today'referemdum in many provinces.
According to a source of the Election Commission, the Embassy sent a letter to the commission to inform the observation. In the letter, he said, the Embassy asked not to be officially facilitated.
8:05am: Pipat Paesuwanrat, 69, who lives on Soi Pracha-uthit 72 in Thung Khruri district, is arrested after he tears a ballot at his polling station. He is handed over the polling station chief who questions the man and learns that he misunderstood that the ballot had to be torn before it would be handed back to officials. He is taken to the Thung Khuru police station for further legal action.
8:00am: Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) spokesman Amorn Wanitwiwat cast his vote. He says no matter how the outcome will be, the CDC will respect the majority vote and he considers that the EC has done its best.
8:00 am: More than 20 police officers guard the 12th polling booth on Pradipat Soi 5 , where Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to cast a ballot this morning. An army or reporters is waiting for him there.
8:00 am: Election Commission's chairman Supachai Somcharoen casts his vote at a polling station in Bang Kruai district of Nonthaburi. Supachai urges people to come out and exercise voting rights. H e says he is not worried today's possible rain would lessen voter turnouts.
8:00 am: Election Commission member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn casts his vote at the polling station No 20 in Ratchathewi district. He is a voter number 124 at his polling station.
7.45am: The polling booths will open in 15 minutes. If you are Pokemon Go fans, we, The Nation, would like to remind you that any attempt to catch “pocket monsters” during the vote, you will have to do so at your own risk.The election watchdog warned yesterday that anyone entering the polling booths to catch the game’s Pokemon characters would face charges.
7:25 am: As Thais are preparing to vote on the charter referendum, they receive good news. Sopita Tanasan wins Thailand's first Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro. The 22-year-old from Champion lifted an aggregate 200kg in the women's 48kg event.
6.30am: There is light rain in Bangkok this morning but some Bangkokians at a BTS sky train station told our reporter that they will go to cast ballots in today's referendum on charter draft in the afternoon.
BTS Chitlom station has only few commuters comparing to weekdays. An authority says it is normal as not many people take the skytrain in Sunday morning.