Election Commission: No military polling station in 2020 election

November 7, 2019

HURFOM: On October 3, 2019 in the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) a Union Election Commission (UEC) led amendment was passed to the Election Law. In the upcoming 2020 general election,  there will be no military polling stations.

The amendment stated that the names of soldiers and their family members, must be listed in an appropriate civic polling station nearby their assigned military compound.

The UEC amended the Electoral Law in order to ensure soldiers cast their vote together with civilians and to make polling stations more transparent to election candidates, polling station officials and to those monitoring the electoral process.

During the last central meeting of the UEC, we proposed to ban military polling stations. It’s reasonable that military members cast their votes at polling stations outside the military compounds. The proposal is not only for our party. We did it for all (political) parties. It’s good if the UEC agrees with our proposal. If they do that (ban military polling stations), there will be more transparency,” said U Ngwe Myint, the Secretary of Mon State National League for Democracy (NLD).

According to the previous election laws, the names of soldiers and their family members must be included in the list of civic polling stations near their assigned military bases. There was no special law permitting military polling stations.

However, in the 2015 general election, out of the 919 polling stations in Mon State of 49 were dedicated military polling stations.

The amendment also directs the Township Election Sub-commission to send a written request to military commanders requesting the list of soldiers and their family members in their battalion and that list must be sent onward to the nearby Ward or Village Election Sub-commission.

Some parties are having doubts that the military has manipulated the military polling stations. If there is no military polling stations, there will be more transparency. But sometimes, the military has to hide the amount of their forces. Rather than focusing on military or civic polling stations, UEC should try to help people cast their vote openly in accordance with election laws,” said U Win Maw Oo, the Secretary of Mon State Union Solidarity and Development Party.

He continued that if soldiers and their family members have to cast their votes at polling stations outside their military compounds, transportation may become a challenge.

This amendment does not need parliamentary approval, rather it automatically comes into force 90 days after Parliament has been informed. Those opposing the amendment can file their concerns directly with the UEC.

In the 2015 election, there were 32 million eligible voters of which 1 million were categorized as military voters.

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