Advance voting for Senate sees low turnout

national March 24, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Yesterday's advance voting for the March 30 half-Senate election went smoothly without any protests, but the turnout was exceptionally low in many provinces.

There were 1,056 polling station across the country, with 151 set up for voters casting ballots outside their constituencies and 905 stations for voters casting votes in their constituencies. Around 2.1 million voters had registered. 
Puchong Nutrawong, secretary-general of the Election Commission, said those who had registered but failed to show up would not be able to vote on March 30.
EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said he had not been informed of any disruption or protest at any polling station.
The atmosphere was reported as lacklustre with fewer voters appearing than expected in some provinces. In one province, 26,285 people had registered for advance voting but only 669 turned up or 2.5 per cent.
In Lop Buri, 228 voters registered but none turned up while in Ang Thong 45 voters registered but none turned up. In Loei, 419 voters had registered and five turned up. In Nong Bua Lamphu, 477 voters had registered but just three cast votes. In Chachoengsao, only 2.5 per cent of voters exercised their right to cast an advance ballot outside their constituency. 
In Phayao, election officials said they were able to solve problems caused by heavy storms before ballot boxes were opened for voters to cast a vote.
Voting in southern provinces such as Phuket was uninterrupted. No incidents or disruptions were reported, but the province also saw a dismal voter turnout in every district. The February 2 election in many southern seats was marred by rallies and interference by anti-government protesters.

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