Voter education unavailable in Ye Chaung Phya (NMSP zone) due to Covid-19 travel ban

October 16, 2020

HURFOM: On September 11, 2020, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) announced restrictions on people’s movements in the 30 villages of their controlled area.

This directive is impacting  Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) providing voter education training in the areas controlled by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO’s).

The NMSP banned the comings and goings in their area. So we can’t do voter education training for Ye Chaung Phya residents. We’re considering other options, such as inviting them to Wel Sin village (of Ye Township) to have the training,” said Nai Lon, a Ye resident who helped Ye Chaung Phya residents secure their voting rights.

The 2020 election is the first chance for the Ye Chaung Phya residents to cast their votes and approximately 2,000 residents have been added to the original voters list that were originally excluded. 

Locals worry their votes may become rejected ballots, because they have no prior election experience and no access to voter education.

We can’t go to Ye Chaung Phya at the moment. Now, we’re doing election training in Southern Ye. I have been planning to go to Ye Chaung Phya after October 18,” said Nai Mon Htaw, a trainer who focuses on voter education.

Local transmission of Covid-19 has not declined in Mon State, and the NMSP has not lifted their travel ban.

When we collected the voter list in Ye Chaung Phya, we invited two or three residents per village to Ye in order to provide voter education training. But it isn’t enough. We must give the training. If not, they don’t know how to cast their votes,” said Nai Lon.

About 500 Ye Chaung Phya residents remain left out of the second release of the updated voter list.  These individuals applied with Form #3 in order to get their names in the voter list.

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