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February 28, 2018

Election day sees high early voter turnout

An old woman gets an ink mark on her index finger after voting in Shwepyitha Township on election day. Photo: Ye Myint
An old woman gets an ink mark on her index finger after voting in Shwepyitha Township on election day. Photo: Ye Myint

Keen voters in Yangon’s suburbs endured long lines and waits of over an hour to cast their ballots at respective voting stations as voter turnout was high on election day.
Myanmar held its 2015 general elections across the country yesterday, with early-bird voters braving long lineups to vote.
“Some dwellers queued up at theirs ward’s polling places before the 6 am polling station opening for the vote,” said Ko San Kyaw from Insein Township, Yangon’s north district.
“People seem to cast their votes early due to some concern they would be unable to later in the day,” said Ko Kyaw Oo, a trishaw driver from another ward in the township.
“As for me, I am not worried about the possible late voting after 4 pm closing time as I know voting will be allowed for people queuing in the compound of the polling station after 4 pm.”
Voters The Global New Light of Myanmar interviewed in some wards of Insein Township were on the whole upbeat about the voting process, with no complaints about waiting.
Ballot papers are clean and legible. It is also found that the ink was not spread after having the ballots stamped, they said.
With concerns that votes could be disqualified if voting is not done properly causing the ink on ballots to smudge, most voters briefly blew the ink before folding their ballots, they added.
Their views were echoed by voters in Hline and Mayangon Townships.
But, a 20-year-old young man in Shwepyitha Township expressed concern over a situation in which part of a word was written on his ballot paper while the staff was filling his name and the voting number in the other side of the paper before tearing the paper in two parts.
“I am concerned that my ballot would be invalid as I was denied to get a new one for the marked paper. They said ‘no problem’, but I got worried.”
As suburb dwellers braved long queues to cast ballots in the polls, election observers conducting their tasks were seen in polling places.
Two female observers from PACE, an election observation organization in Myanmar, said that more than 600 dwellers had voted until 11 am at a polling station where 1,300 voters were registered.
“We do only observation, counting the number of voters who got to the polling booths,” one of them said. “I worried about whether crowds will die down in the late afternoon,” said one of the observers.
A returning officer of a polling station in Mayangon Township told the GNLM around 2.30 pm that around 190 voters are still at their homes while more than 500 had voted at the booth.


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