Legal ramifications of a citizen's failure to vote
January 30, 2014 00:00
By CHANIKARN PHUMHIRAN
Revocation of political rights for failure to vote
The Election Act prescribes loss of political rights as punishment if an eligible voter fails to go to vote in the general (member of Parliament), senatorial or local administrator elections without justified reason. They include the rights to oppose the election results, the qualification to run in the MP, senatorial or local elections, or kamnan and village chief elections.
The rights would be restored if the voter takes part in voting the next time.
However, to retain the rights, the eligible voter who is unable to vote on election day or on advance voting day can submit a clarification to the Election Commission up to seven days before or after the election day.
Valid reasons would include urgent and necessary business at a location far from the constituency, illness or other emergencies, as per the law.
Meaning of “No” votes and invalid ballots
The Constitutional Court’s ruling nullifying the election on April 2, 2006 said, “The [April 2, 2006] election found the “No” votes and the invalid ballots together accounted for more than half the valid ballots cast. It may have resulted in the MP election being against the Constitution’s will according to the democratic system.”