The Union Election Commission (UEC) said Tuesday that it would release its final list of eligible voters for the upcoming general election on Nov. 2, giving would-be voters just a few more days to check that they are correctly enumerated and apply for any last-minute changes to the rosters.
Voters who have previously applied for amendments, including having biographical data corrected or their names added or removed from a given voter list, should see those changes reflected in the final roster.
The Nov. 2 release is likely to be closely scrutinized by civil society groups and political parties, which have raised serious concerns about a process of voter registration and verification that began in late March with a first batch of preliminary voter list displays and has continued in stages over the course of the months since. The UEC has faced a storm of criticism as reports have mounted of widespread errors to the preliminary lists compiled by the commission.
One significant alteration to the preliminary voter lists due next week is expected to see tens of thousands of Burmese migrants’ names shuffled. These migrants, either internally or abroad, would have applied to change the constituency in which they will vote, often because outdated household registration data was used to compile the initial voter lists. Migrants who can prove residency in a constituency for at least 180 days are eligible to vote in that locale.
In Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township, for example, about 230,000 names were added to the voter rolls, boosting its eligible voter list from 280,000 preliminarily to 510,000 to date, UEC director Tin Tun said on Tuesday in Naypyidaw. The township, on the outskirts of the commercial capital, is industrial hub that hosts a large population of migrant workers.
Conversely, in Chin State, electoral official Lin Kyaw said that statewide the commission had received 7,483 submissions to withdraw from the voter lists the names of family members who are working abroad or have moved to other states and divisions for work.
In response to a question about to what extent the commission could ensure the final voter lists’ accuracy, Tin Tun replied: “We can say only after the announcement on Nov. 2.”
The UEC stressed that no alterations to the voter lists would be made after the Nov. 2 announcement. Requests for further changes can theoretically be filed with relevant election subcommissions through Nov. 1, but voters concerned about the accuracy of the lists are advised to check them as soon as possible.
Following the Nov. 2 announcement, so-called “voter registration cards” will be issued to those victims of widespread flooding earlier this year who have been left without the identity documents required to cast a ballot on election day.
Burma’s voters go to the polls nationwide on Nov. 8.
Additional reporting by May Sitt Paing in Naypyidaw.