Voters Complain of Wax on Ballot Papers

By Election, The Irrawaddy 1 April 2012

Hundreds of people have complained of wax being put on ballot papers causing votes for the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) to be voided.

Moe Thwe, a spokesman for the 88 Generation Students election monitors, found that many voters had to scrape away wax from the NLD ‘tick’ box in the ballot booth.

Some people who tried to write over the wax ended up spoiling their ballot paper and were then refused a replacement slip as Union Election Commission officials claimed it was “only one vote per person.”

Reports of the tampering have reached The Irrawaddy from Mandalay, Magwe and Irrawaddy divisions—particular Myaungmya Township and polling station number four in Mandalay’s Tada-Oo Township where irregularities have apparently occurred multiple times.

Even Kawhmu Township, south of the former capital Rangoon, where pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is standing for her NLD party has been effected from wax tampering, according to observers.

Ye Htut, director-general of Information and Public Relations Department within the Ministry of Information, said that it was not the government’s intention to promote any party more than another.

He admitted that there may have been some issues with voting but denied that hundreds of people were facing a problem from wax on ballots. He added that the papers were produced in the capital Naypyidaw for the entire country.

“It’s not a problem as we did not produce ballot papers to make voting difficult and no wax has been put on these ballot papers,” he wrote on the social networking website Facebook.

Meanwhile, election monitors from the European Union have been positive about the by-elections vote and said that their were “only minor infringements,” according to the BBC.