RANGOON — The Union Election Commission (UEC) has extended voter list displays in 14 townships across five flood-affected regions, with the longest extensions leaving voter rolls up for review until less than a month before the Nov. 8 poll.
Voter lists are currently on display across the nation for the second time, giving voters one last chance to check their registration for the general elections and ensure their details are correct. Most township UEC offices will conclude the fortnight-long display period on Sunday.
On Thursday, the UEC announced that the display period would be extended until Sept. 30 for Ingapu Township in Irrawaddy Division, while five flood-hit locals in five Sagaing Division townships will have until Oct. 2 to check the rolls. Sidoktaya Township in Magwe, Myingyan Township in Mandalay and three townships in Irrawaddy’s Hinthada District will have voter lists on display until Oct. 4.
Residents of around 20 villages in Magwe Division are facing ongoing travel problems due to road damage from the August floods, leading the divisional UEC office to seek an extension for the voter list review.
“We are posting the voter lists in accordance with the schedule,” said Kyi Sein, chair of the Magwe Division UEC office. “But voters in some of the worst flood-affected areas aren’t interested in checking the voter lists and have difficulties in transportation,” he said.
Voter list displays in the Chin State townships of Matupi, Hakha and Tonzang, which all suffered heavy damage from floods and subsequent landslides in August, will be extended until Oct. 10, four weeks before polling day.
The second public review of UEC voter lists, begun on Sept. 14, has not silenced opposition claims the rolls are riddled with errors and may bar eligible voters from casting a ballot in November.
“The final voter lists should be accurate, but most are still wrong,” said Win Htein, a central executive committee member of the National League for Democracy, at a press conference on Monday. “So I would like to ask, will the election be free?”
Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint, executive director from the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE) monitoring group, said that his organization had called for an extension of the voter list displays in flood-affected regions, and welcomed the UEC’s decision.
An estimated 32 million people will be eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 elections.