As the countdown to Sunday’s general election continues, the Election Commission (EC) is working hard to increase voter turnout and ensure a smooth voting process. With a large billboard near Victory Monument announcing the upcoming election, the EC, led by Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong, has launched the “Big Day” campaign to encourage citizens to make their voices heard at the polls.
According to City Hall, the voter turnout for Bangkok’s advance voting on the previous Sunday reached an impressive 91.81%, surpassing the 87% recorded during the March 2019 poll. Mr. Ittiporn expressed his hope that the Big Day campaign will stimulate even more participation in the election, and urged voters to familiarize themselves with the election rules to minimize invalid ballots. The EC is aiming for a rejection rate of no more than 2% of all ballots cast this Sunday.
While some mistakes occurred during the advance voting stage last weekend, Mr. Ittiporn reassured voters that these hiccups would not nullify the election results. He stated that the EC is prepared to undergo investigation over the errors since the commission executed the advance voting process in good faith. Among the issues encountered were officials at a voting station mistakenly writing postal codes instead of electoral constituency codes on approximately 100 envelopes containing cast ballots.
The commission has ensured that no ballots will be lost as a result of this error; envelopes with incorrect codes will be cross-referenced with registered voter logbooks. Mr. Ittiporn also expressed his commitment to avoiding a similar situation this weekend, noting that the EC welcomes public and media scrutiny as it helps improve the organization’s efficiency. “Without the monitoring from the people and the media, the EC might not be able to deliver such a complete job,” he said.
In addition to handling logistical matters, the EC is currently investigating 101 fraud complaints it has received thus far. Of these, 38 have been related to vote buying, while 34 involve alleged mudslinging campaigns. Provincial election offices have been given up to 20 days to conclude their investigations, with a potential extension of 15 more days.
Chairman Ittiporn emphasized the importance of not rushing these investigations, allowing for thorough and accurate assessments. As anticipation grows for the general election, it is essential for the EC to address all concerns and ensure a fair, transparent, and successful voting process.