By ZAW MIN NAING, MIN THU WIN HTUT
For the convenience of senior citizens in casting votes, advance votes are beginning to be cast in Stay at Home townships from October 29 to November 5.
In accordance with the guidelines for controlling COVID-19 issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports, voters must follow social distancing rules, wear face shields and masks. Body temperature will be checked at the polling stations and hand gels, liquid soaps will be placed at the ward and village election commission offices according to the Union Election Commission (UEC).
Those who will cast their votes at their homes will be done so by the commission according to timetables.
On the first day of advance voting on October 29, envelopes that contained ballot papers were torn and some were unsealed according to voters who gave advance votes on that day.
In Kan Hla Kyaung Su, Zee Kyun villages in Magway Region, advance voting were done not by stampin the party logo but by writing right marks with ball pens. It was mentioned in the Magway Region Chief Minister Dr. Aung Moe Nyo’s social media page.
He wrote that advance votes for senior citizens are asked to write down by ball pens instead of stamping logo. Did it mean to ineligible votes and posted messages written to him. Concerning that case, secretary of Magway Region election commission was contacted and he confirmed that it was being investigated.
Some townships in Ayeyawaddy Region and Sagaing Region experienced unsealed enveloped with ballot papers and torn envelopers. In Ayeyawaddy Region, ballot papers were put without gluing the envelopes. Chair of Ayeyawaddy Region sub-election commission Aung Myint said that ballot papers must be put in sealed envelopes. Butm ballot papers put in unsealed envelopes will also be eligible votes and counted in the election.
When casting votes, wearing party shirts, hats and clothes were prohibited but wearing Karen national costumes are not prohibited.
In Sagaing Region, contact was made to Sagaing Region election commission on matter concerning unsealed envelopes with ballot papers inside. Freelance journalist Kyi Aung who cast advance vote said the unsealed envelopes with ballot papers inside will not be rejected.
“When I stamped party logo on the ballot paper and then to glue the envelope, there is no glue and they said no need to seal the envelope. Election commission officer helped me put my ballot papers in the big envelope and I put it into the box. The big envelope was not sealed, too. I asked the ward election commission to make sure whether it was true that we don’t need to seal the envelope. I didn’t want my vote be a waste. He confirmed that no seal is needed. I telephoned the township commission concerning the matter and the official also confirmed not to seal the envelope, said Kyi Aung.
In 2020 General Election, there are 38 million eligible voters and the actual number may less than the previous amount as some townships in Paletwa are excluded for voting.