Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Should postal voting be abolished?

According to a malaysiakini report, Bersih, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, wants the Electoral Commission (EC) to do away with postal voting.

Bersih is supported by 64 NGOs, civil society groups and opposition parties.

Having said that, that is to do away with postal voting, it then stated that the EC should allow polling agents of contesting parties to monitor the entire (postal voting) process. I am a bit confused here.

Bersih said army and police personnel should be allowed to vote in polling centres like other voters. Of course, Bersih is assuming that none would be on essential duties on voting day.

Hmmm, what about the navy, air force, firemen, ambulance and hospital staff? Yes, there are certain members of the voting public who may not be able to leave their posts (duties) even for voting.

Ah, it becomes clear now why Bersih didn’t include those sailors ;-)

It provided the example of the disappearing 5,000 ballots in Lumut where the largest TLDM (navy) base is. Bersih said that occurred over four consecutive elections since 1990.

Hmmm, did those naval ‘artillery’ from nowhere sank the opposition candidate?

Bersih said: “Should the EC, security forces and others object to the abolition, they must articulate their rationale publicly or suggest ways to overcome the problems associated with this process.”

Again, that word 'abolish' (postal votes) - I'm a bit disturbed by it (the abolishment of postal voting) per se as well as the inconsistency of Bersih's declaration, because 'abolishing' the process means no one, regardless of their presence on or before voting day, could vote, so why then demand at the same time for polling agents of contesting parties to monitor the entire (postal voting) process?

I think calling for the abolishment of postal voting is a wee too drastic and undemocratic, as that will surely disfranchise those citizens on essential duties.

However, I support greater scrutiny and accountability, where opposition representatives may inspect the bona fides or credibility of the postal votes. I suppose one way (admittedly simplistic - am not a polling expert) would be to tally the total number of registered voters, like making sure a 45,000 eligible constituency doesn't end up with 89,000 cast ballots ;-)

But then, our world’s famous EC also has that amazing ability to make one citizen’s vote equivalent to five of another, and vice versa. I was told that in some constituencies, it could be as shockingly many as 20 to 1 – the example provided was the new Putra Jaya constituency versus some constituency which had more than 100,000 voters. Would this example be true?

It’s called gerrymandering. So it’s little wonder the opposition and some NGOs are fed up with the supposedly independent commission. Independent or 'in dependence'?

And it’s not only gerrymandering that’s worrying the opposition. For example, in 2001 after an election court nullified the election results for Likas, Sabah on the grounds that its electoral roll was illegal and contained phantom voters (David Copperfield, eat your heart out), an amendment to the Election Act the following year removed all legal avenues for parties to challenge the roll’s credibility or the election results based on a flawed electoral roll.

What unbelievable mind numbing bull had that been? It’s so brazenly and shamelessly admitting to the sorry deceitful use of phantom voters, and bulldozing power to prevent scrutiny and democratic challenges of a questionable voting process.

Bersih declared: “To ensure all legitimate voters and only legitimate voters can vote in the elections, EC must advise against any decision by the government to hold the elections before the electoral roll is satisfactorily cleaned up and updated.”

Amen to that, though like God, the EC is unlikely to directly respond or even answer our prayers. However, unlike God, it doesn’t work in mysterious ways – it’s so bloody predictable.


  1. Who's there to monitor the voting process of sailors or whatever?

    In a normal polling booth, there will be scrutineers from contesting candidates, making sure the same person doesn't vote twice etc.

    The same cannot be said for those who cast postal votes.

    Ktemoc: if you have never vonlunteered to become a polling agent, the next GE is a good chance to understand what these bersih buggers are complaining about.

  2. On any voting day, there are thousands of people who are on official duty away from their constituency. On top of that, there are thousands of election workers who have to be at their designated duty post for the whole day. Are we to deny them their democratic rights ?
    I agree with the concerns of the election watchers, there has to be ways to assure that the number of approved postal voting ballots issued = the number of postal votes received. But we cannot deny citizens their voting rights.

  3. هناأدخل النص العربي هنادخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص العري هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص العربي

    هنا هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النصالعربي هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخ النص العربي هناأدخل النص العربي هنا ه
    ناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص لع
    ربي هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص
    العربي هناأدخل النص العربي هنا
    هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص
    العربي هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص العربي هناأدخل النص العربي هنا

  4. If and when the postal voting system is dumped, BN's grasp of marginal seats such as Taiping and Jelutung will be severely weakened. So you can bet your last ringgit that postal voting will continue for the next couple of thousand years.