The Nation

opinion

Smaller
Larger

An insider's guide to vote-buying

Politicians in the Northeast have been called undemocratic for "buying" votes. However, whether vote-buying actually influences elections has always been a mystery, since voters' choices are supposed to be kept secret. That mystery was solved by the voting experience of my Roi-et domestic helper in the 2011 election.

Neither "red" nor "yellow", she returned to vote in her constituency out of civic duty. She was asked to write her name on the ballot paper. At the count, an official publicly announced her name and called her a dog for choosing the Democrat Party. Only seven of about 500 village residents voted Democrat - all were publicly insulted for doing so.

All except the seven were paid by the village head, who answers to the Interior Ministry. Where was the Electoral Commission in all this? Obviously this case was too small for them to care about, and yet the practice is rampant across the whole region. We are good at making a show of being fair, but extremely naive and ineffective when it comes to action.

Songdej Praditsmanont

Bangkok


Comments conditions

Users are solely responsible for their comments.We reserve the right to remove any comment and revoke posting rights for any reason withou prior notice.