NLD Says Many Errors on Initial Voter Lists

By Yen Saning 4 June 2015

RANGOON — The National League for Democracy (NLD) claims that 30-80 percent of eligible voter data are inaccurate as initial batches of voter lists have been released in Rangoon and Naypyidaw, with Burma’s largest opposition party submitting an open letter of complaint to the Union Election Commission (UEC).

The NLD said in the letter, made public on Thursday, that a party “voter list reviewing committee” had examined the rosters released in 24 townships in Rangoon and eight in Naypyidaw, with errors ranging from incorrect dates of birth to the erroneous listing of people who lack identity documents.

The open letter from the NLD was sent to the UEC on Wednesday, when party representatives also met with the commission’s chairman Tin Aye to discuss the matter.

In the letter, the party also urged the UEC and its subcommissions to more effectively collaborate with the nation’s political parties to correct voter lists, with a concrete timetable for resolving the issue.

Tun Tun Hein, the leader of the NLD’s voter list reviewing committee, said Tin Aye acknowledged that the voter lists contained “many errors.”

Voters seeking to correct inaccuracies on the lists are asked to fill out one of three forms, depending on the nature of the error.

The NLD said Burma’s political parties had faced obstacles in attempting to obtain copies of the voter lists, with some election subcommissions not allowing them to duplicate the rosters.

Tun Tun Hein, who is also a member of the opposition party’s central committee, said Tin Aye assured the NLD that parties would be allowed to copy the lists using any method as long as the rosters were not removed from the boards on which they are displayed.

The NLD said it had come to the 30-80 percent estimate by copying the voter lists and undertaking a door-to-door verification process. The party plans to follow the same procedure nationwide.

The UEC also agreed to consider ways in which to make the voter lists more accessible to the public, according to Tun Tun Hein, after the NLD complained that some voter lists were found to have been posted in administrative offices several floors above ground level or were displayed during inconvenient hours.

The NLD also urged the UEC to more closely monitor members of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which it claimed had violated the Political Parties Registration Law when some USDP members tried to discredit Aung San Suu Kyi by spreading this misleading photo of the NLD chairwoman during her trip to Mon State last month.

The opposition party claimed that signs in villages implying a kind of ownership or sponsorship by the USDP’s predecessor were also still posted in some states and divisions, despite a government official telling Parliament in February that any remaining signs would be removed.

The latest round of voter lists, 14 in Rangoon and eight in Naypyidaw, were posted on May 25 and will be displayed through June 7. On June 8, a third batch of voter rolls will be released in several states and divisions, with a final batch of the preliminary lists due for display on June 22. The UEC says voters will have one last opportunity to check the lists before the election, when they will be displayed for seven days nationwide.