October 22, 2017

Printing ballot papers for 32 million voters is no easy task

Ballot papers systematically stored in storage facility of Printing and Publishing Enterprise (Nay Pyi Taw). Photo : Kyaw Thu Win
Ballot papers systematically stored in storage facility of Printing and Publishing Enterprise (Nay Pyi Taw). Photo : Kyaw Thu Win

MYANMAR’s general elections of 8 November will be nothing short of historic, so it’s little wonder that the international community is taking a keen interest.
One of the most important tasks is the printing of ballot papers. The printing itself must meet quality standards, time constraints and avoid any wastage of the costly papers. Officials told The Global New Light of Myanmar that they are trying their level best to fulfill their responsibilities and ensure the elections go smoothly. “We started printing ballot papers on 11 September and we are confident that we’ll be able to complete the job by the third week of October,” General Manager U Ko Ko Naing of the Printing and Publishing Enterprise of the Ministry of Information said last week.
PPE is responsible for printing ballot papers and it is printing no less than 1,159 different types, the general manager said.
The ballot papers have been imported from Indonesia and have inbuilt anti-counterfeit measures. The papers have watermarks and are printed on specialised ‘80 GSM paper.’ The printing is taking place in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to ensure timely completion. Officials from the Union Election Commission are overseeing the operations at the printing houses and strategies have been devised to ensure that ballot papers are issued in the country’s most -flung areas.
“I am responsible for checking that the final voters’ lists contain accurate details – this includes the names of candidates, political parties, and constituencies — and so on,” Assistant Director U Than Hlaing of UEC explained.
Security is tight at the printing facilities. Printing personnel follow the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which are designed to ensure the highest level of security management, said Manager U Min Ko Ko of Printing Factory in Nay Pyi Taw.
Printing ballot papers for Myanmar’s franchised population of 32 million is no easy task, but PPE’s general manager expressed confidence that the mission will be accomplished.

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