Election Information Center Unveiled in Rangoon

By San Yamin Aung 27 May 2015

RANGOON — Ahead of much-anticipated elections late this year, Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) has launched an Information Center in Rangoon and a new website where eligible voters can check their names against voting lists compiled by the commission.

At an opening ceremony on Tuesday, UEC chairman Tin Aye said the Information Center would allow interested parties to access elections-related data faster and more conveniently in Rangoon, where most of the country’s political parties, civil society groups and media outlets are based, according to a UEC press release.

The chairman said that through the center, updated documents and information about the election would be made available, including relevant laws and regulations, orders and instructions issued by the UEC, and materials on the commission’s operations.

The new Information Center is located on Shwe Li Road in Rangoon’s Kamayut Township, and the election commission’s deputy director, Hla Maung Cho, told The Irrawaddy that it will be open from Monday to Friday and will be staffed by at least one UEC official at all times.

The UEC also launched the https://checkvoterlist.uecmyanmar.org website on Tuesday, saying voters would be able to search their names online in addition to checking them at election subcommission offices in their wards.

The rollout of the website was not an unequivocal success, however, with some Rangoon voters who attempted to check their names on the website complaining that their searches did not produce a match.

“There are going to be complaints like that,” said Hla Maung Cho. “We are not now posting all of the voter lists. Only the voter lists in 13 townships in Rangoon are now posted and we will update it gradually.”

In Rangoon, physical copies of the voter lists were put up in the wards of 14 townships on Monday, and will remain posted from 9 am to 4 pm daily through June 7. An initial batch of 10 Rangoon townships was made public from March 30 to April 12.

The eight townships of the Naypyidaw Union Territory also released voter lists on Monday, though the UEC’s new website did not allow for a search of those rolls as of Wednesday.

The UEC has said the voting rosters will be made public in four stages, with the last releases on June 22.

The purpose of the exercise is to allow eligible voters to ensure that they will be able to cast a ballot by checking that their names are on the lists. Voters are also being instructed to inform local election officials if names are erroneously included on a list.

The compilation of accurate voter rolls is viewed as an important gauge of the 2015 poll’s credibility.

The UEC has said it is committed to ensuring a free and fair election in November amid intense international scrutiny in the lead up to what could be Burma’s first credible poll in 25 years.

The electoral commission has not yet announced a date for Election Day.