Huge turnout for advance voting as election nears

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Yesterday, advance voting saw a large turnout across the nation, with citizens keen to exercise their democratic rights following a four-year wait. The Election Commission (EC) reported that 2,235,830 individuals registered for early voting yesterday, ahead of the May 14 election.

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt stated that the process went smoothly, with only a few minor issues emerging at polling locations, such as individuals fainting from the heat at Ramkhamhaeng University. Water trucks were deployed to cool down the area.

Sittipunt reported that, at the Siam Paragon shopping mall, over 40,000 individuals were anticipated to vote, with smooth management leading to no complications. City Hall will be responsible for the secure storage of ballot boxes, overseen by an online surveillance system.

At Ramkhamhaeng University, 52,771 individuals registered for early voting, with long lines of people waiting to vote in the sweltering heat. One voter (who requested anonymity) commented that insufficient officials were present to handle the large turnout, resulting in delays, reports Bangkok Post.

Elsewhere in Thailand, significant numbers registered to vote. Ayutthaya saw 41,421 individuals, primarily workers and residents from nearby areas, sign up. In Nakhon Ratchasima, 44,195 individuals from 16 constituencies registered, with more than half voting at the first constituency in the Central Plaza shopping mall.

In Yala, 9,021 were eligible for advance voting at both outside and local polling stations. Accusations of vote-buying were made in Khon Kaen, with a group of villagers from Mueang district presenting a petition to the provincial election committee. Evidence provided included photographs and videos of money being given to those attending a speech by a Pheu Thai Party candidate at a local rally.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee revealed that the EC has received 92 complaints related to election law violations. Most involve vote-buying allegations and primarily relate to events in Bangkok. Suspiciously high advance voting registration in Yasothon and Amnat Charoen has prompted further investigation by the EC.

Referring to ballots from overseas voters, Boonmee announced 68 Thai consulates had submitted their ballots. The remaining 26 consulates expect to send theirs within the next three to five days. In Nonthaburi, reports indicate that incorrect details were provided regarding constituencies and provinces from advance polling stations on approximately 100 used ballots.

Boonmee assured these issues were resolved and would not affect vote counts on election day. He added that an investigation would determine whether these mistakes were accidental or deliberate. Frustration over these inaccuracies was expressed on social media, with some users demanding legal action against election commissioners.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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