Electoral Commission urged to clarify voting process amidst confusing social media messages

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Photograph: Benedict Lopez

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) calls on the Electoral Commission to do its duty under the law by coming forward to clarify the concerns on secrecy of the vote and the voting process amidst a flurry of social media messages aimed at cultivating fear among voters.

Bersih 2.0 condemns the Electoral Commission’s silence when it comes to addressing voters’ concerns, especially when these messages are being widely circulated in social media. Information on voter secrecy and the proper method to ensure that their votes are valid and protected should be published on the Electoral Commission’s website and social media platforms. The Electoral Commission should also conduct public awareness work on the rights of voters through mainstream media.

Intentional or unintentional false information and misinformation has been circulated via Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter pertaining to the ability to trace the identity of voters based on a serial number on the ballot paper, methods on how to protect your vote and how to mark the ballot paper.

While some of these messages provide the necessary correct information, many are either outrightly misleading or incorrect, confusing voters and spreading fear that their votes can be traced back to them and that they need to resort to particular methods to protect their votes.

While this clearly indicates a lack of trust in the electoral process and the Electoral Commission, it also illustrates how lack of information and malicious messages aimed at getting voters to spoil their votes under the guise of protecting their votes can undermine the right of voters in electing the next government.

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These are steps that voters need to know in order to ensure that their votes are safe:

1. Make sure to bring your identity card. A copy of your voting status (available on the Electoral Commission’s website (https://pengundi.spr.gov.my) will also be useful, but is not necessary.

2. Once you enter the polling station, the first clerk will call out your name and identity card number and strike your name off the electoral roll.

3. The second clerk will mark your finger with indelible ink.

4. The third clerk will issue you two ballots papers (one for your parliamentary candidate and one for your state legislative council [Dun] candidate). Voters in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan and Sarawak will only receive one ballot paper. Please bear in mind that your ballots must be unmarked except for the stamp and serial number on your ballot paper.

The serial number on the ballot paper is necessary to indicate how many ballot papers have been issued. The serial number of ballot paper cannot be noted down by any party to tally with the serial number on the electoral roll to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

5. To cast your ballot, you only need to mark your ballot to indicate your choice of candidate with an ‘X’ (Bersih 2.0 recommends marking with the common ‘X’, but this is not a required mark). It is not required nor necessary for the ‘X’ to encompass the entirety of the space allocated for you to mark your choice.

Example:

Party A

Logo Party A

x

 

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6. Fold your ballot paper and drop in into the ballot box.

7. If you believe you have made a mistake in marking your ballot, you may request a replacement ballot from the Electoral Commission officer in charge of your stream.

Bersih 2.0 urges the public to verify dubious information received on social media by calling the Electoral Commission (03-8892 7200) or to clarify the messages with us via Bersih 2.0’s social media channels or call us at 03-7931-4444.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

Check your voting status: https://pengundi.spr.gov.my
Register as an independent electoral observer:
www.pemantau.org/daftar
Lodge an electoral offence:
https://aduan.pemantau.org
Clarify your questions with us

– Email to aduan@pemantau.org
– PM Bersih on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Bersih2.0)
– Tweet to Bersih on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bersih2)

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