Voters reject new system: poll

politics August 13, 2017 01:00

By THE SUNDAY NATION

MOST PEOPLE disagree with the abolition of a voting system in which all candidates of the same party share a common contesting number, saying it would only cause confusion and be unlikely to curb electoral fraud as intended, an opinion survey has found.



More than 40 per cent of 1,119 respondents answered to the latest Suan Dusit Poll conducted between August 8 to 11 disagreed and said that the change “isn’t worth it”.

Some 45 per cent of the respondents said they did not think any voting system would make any difference to the corruption issue, according to results of the survey released yesterday. Politics is monopolised by the two major parties and most of the time people elected are the same faces from the same parties, the respondents said.

The poll was conducted after the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) had proposed to abolish the old voting system and replace it with a version in which each candidate in each constituency race would draw lots to determine their poll number. Candidates affiliated with a party would not have the same number across all constituencies.

However, almost three quarters or 74.8 per cent viewed the old system’s advantageous point was that it was easier to understand and recognise the candidate and the party.

Some 65 per cent also said the system has long been practised and people were more accustomed to it. And about 64 per cent said it was good because it is easier for the party to campaign.

Meanwhile, 73.2 per cent of the respondents accepted that the old voting system could have a larger tendency toward corruption and suffer from vote buying. 

More than two-thirds or 68.5 per cent also agreed voters had chosen in favour of the party rather than considering the constituency candidates fielded. 

And 54.6 per cent said that voters only remembered the party number and crossed the ballot accordingly without considering their policies.

Nearly a third of respondents, or 32.8 per cent, said that the abolition of the old voting system would worsen the election. People think confusion would emerge and could result in political conflict, the poll found. 

Only one-fifth or 21.3 per cent believed the change would improve elections. Those people said the new voting system would help prevent poll fraud and prompt contestants to pay more attention to the voters.

One-third, or 33.5 per cent, said they were unsure if they agreed with the abolition, while 24.6 per cent said they agreed with it because it could both curb vote-buying and also make voters consider and choose the right constituency candidate over the party.

Some 60.9 per cent said, however, that the powers-that-be should listen to the people and the politicians if they are to introduce a new election system.

Almost 60 per cent, or 58.3 per cent, said any system would have both pros and cons.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent and 48.9 per cent respectively said the changes were still unclear and that they were unsure of what exactly the system would be. 

Another 43.14 per cent said the new system is a new alternative and perhaps could improve the election.