Election 2020

USDP Representative, Teacher Face Prosecution Over Advance Vote Fraud Allegations

By San Yamin Aung 4 November 2020

YANGON—A representative of a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) election candidate and a middle school teacher face legal action over alleged electoral fraud during advance voting, Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) said.

The UEC said Daw Aye Mar Win, the representative of USDP candidate U Khin Maung Soe, provided a fake stamp to replace a faulty UEC-approved stamp used by voters to mark their ballots at a polling station in Yangon Region’s Hlegu Township. Three voters used the fake seal unknowingly, leading to their ballots being rejected.

National League for Democracy (NLD) polling station representatives noticed the fake stamp because it did not include a UEC symbol, and reported the incident.

In a separate case, the UEC said middle school teacher Daw Moe Myat Thuzar cast advance ballots two times in Ayeyawady Region. She allegedly cast the ballots in Sipwarchaung Village-tract on Oct. 30 and in Meitaline Village-tract on Oct. 31.

The UEC said in a statement released on Tuesday evening that the two were charged under Article 59 of the election law, which bans voting more than once in an election, intentionally destroying, or rendering illegible, election materials, and other election offenses. Violators of Article 59 face one year’s imprisonment or a fine or both.

Early voting for certain categories of Myanmar nationals residing inside the country began on Oct. 29. Since then, disputes and claims of electoral offenses have emerged in several areas in Kachin, Rakhine, Magwe, Bago and Ayeyarwaddy. The cases are under investigation by the areas’ respective election sub-commissions.

According to the UEC, senior citizens aged 60 years old and above who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, people in quarantine centers, those stranded due to travel restrictions, civil servants who need to perform duties outside their constituencies, citizens who have to travel on the day of the election, election candidates and their representatives are eligible to take part in advance voting.

Myanmar is set to go to the polls on Nov. 8.

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