Election 2020

Over-60s Vote Early in Large Numbers Ahead of Myanmar’s Election

By San Yamin Aung 5 November 2020

YANGON — Myanmar has seen a high voter turnout among its older citizens in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions and Kachin State, with more than half of registered over-60s casting advance ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, according to the election authorities.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19, advance voting has been arranged for the over-60s, who are more vulnerable to coronavirus. Early voting began on Oct. 29 at polling stations or mobile ballot boxes sent to the homes of those with health conditions.

Yangon Region’s election sub-commission told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that more than 70 percent of the region’s older voters cast early ballots within six days. Yangon has more than 800,000 voters over 60, of whom more than 600,000 have voted.

Meanwhile in Mandalay Region, 380,000 over-60s – or 53 percent of older voters in the region – had cast their ballots by Wednesday, according to the region’s election sub-commission. Mandalay has 720,000 voters over 60.

Kachin State election sub-commission chairwoman Daw Mary May Nan said more than 60 percent of over-60s had voted within five days.

Bago Region has reported that more than 50 percent, or around 300,000, of its registered voters over 60 have cast ballots in five days.

Ma Hnin of Bago Region said on Oct. 29, the first day of advance voting, that her mother voted from her home as the election officers collected the votes door-to-door with mobile ballot boxes.

“It is quite convenient for my mother. In the 2015 general election, she voted at the polling station on election day. But I wouldn’t allow her to do it this time as I worry about COVID-19,” she said.

Thursday marks the final day of early voting for older voters. Other state and regional sub-commissions were unavailable for comment. According to a 2019 survey by the Department of Population at the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, Myanmar has 5.1 million over-60s or nearly 10 percent of the population.

Around 38 million people are eligible to vote in the election.

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