February 01, 2014 00:00 By Kornchanok Raksaseri
In the run-up to an election in normal circumstances people might ask their friends to go to vote or express their opinions on who - which political party or particular candidate - to vote for.
But this time, many have clearly announced they won’t be voting or that they will cast “no vote”.
Some have posted a message or graphic saying, “I’m too busy to vote on February 2”, though it actualy means they are planning to boycott the poll
Several social media users have shared articles on what would happen if they don’t vote for any candidate this time, cast a “no vote” or just abstain.
This reluctance comes because there are many factors for people to decide, especially when the anti-government camp says it is boycotting the election.
The People’s Democratic Reform Committee is campaigning for a “National Picnic Day,” with secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban calling for protesters to come out on the street.
Among people who support the February 2 election, social media users use the cartoon featuring 50-year-old business woman Picharinee Rattanachamnong, who held up a flashlight as she tried to wade through protesters who blockaded an election venue on advance voting day last Sunday.
This is a continuation from the pro-election group that used to campaign by lighting candles.
There are many versions of her cartoons. One has a message that says, “You have your whistle, I have my flashlight, that’s all I need”.
“Together, carry a flashlight and go ahead for the election, to shine a light for a country in the dark.”
In the meantime, a “voting manual” created by www.ispacethailand.com has been circulated.
Among the six directions are:
1. Check out the routes to go to vote; 2. Prepare documents and the accessories “to disguise” yourself; 3. Dress in a way that is ready to face any situation; 4. Go to vote in groups, not alone; 5. Use mobile devices to check-in at the place; And 6. File a complaint with police if obstructed.
Although the protesters say it is an individual’s right to decide whether to go to vote, supporters of the election also emphasised that voting is a duty for citizens and failure to do so without good reason would cost them penalties.
A link has been circulated to the Interior Ministry’s Department of Provincial Administration website, where eligible voters can put in their identification number and check their voting record if they fail to vote in the latest election. It is http://eservice.dopa.go.th/Election/Elecenter/interenqabs/index.php.
Nevertheless, some people like Candy Ydnac had other ideas. She wrote on Facebook “Those who want to go to vote, just go. Those who don’t want to go, just don’t go. As easy as that.”
Some people even wrote, “Don’t tell me if you will go to vote. Decide for yourself.”