The issue came to public attention after Phatthraporn Tan-ngam, a journalist at Thai PBS station, posted a video clip of her interview with Pongsatorn Wisetsuwan, deputy managing director of Thailand Post.
According to Mr Pongsatorn, the handwriting on some 300,000 envelopes containing cast ballots from advance voting is “unreadable” and must be examined by the Election Commission (EC) to determine where they should be delivered, rpeorts the Bangkok Post.
Written on the envelopes are the provinces, districts and constituencies and five-digit election codes for sorting and delivery. These details were written by election officials at the advance voting stations.
According to Mr Pongsatorn, Thailand Post is tasked with sorting and delivering more than 2 million advance voting ballots to 400 constituencies nationwide, and all should have been sorted yesterday. EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee yesterday downplayed concerns about the issue, saying he is not sure what the person meant by “unreadable”.
“These envelopes may be incomplete….. missing the province, district or election code. Sorting officials aren’t sure where to send them. It doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t readable," he said.
Mr Sawaeng said election officials are deployed around the clock to examine the envelopes, and they are tasked with reviewing the problematic envelopes. He insisted that all the advance voting ballots are en route to the destinations and noted that Thailand Post might have to clarify if there are as many as 300,000 problematic envelopes.
Meanwhile, Picharn Chaopattanawong, deputy leader of the Move Forward Party, on Friday lambasted the EC for keeping the public in the dark about the issue.
He called on the poll agency to address the issue urgently.
“The EC always says the problems can be fixed, but it should ask Thailand Post if they can sort these envelopes. The EC must address this issue now,” he said.
Mr Picharn said these ballots could determine the election result. If they cannot be counted, the EC must take responsibility. In total, 2,235,830 voters registered to cast advance votes. Of them, 2,216,951 voted outside their household constituencies, and the rest in their home constituencies.
Kurt | 17 May 2023 - 13:18:43