PHUKET TOWN: Members of the newly elected Tambon Administration Organizations (OrBorTor) in Phuket will vote today to decide who will be on the three-member executive committees of each of Phuket’s 13 OrBorTor. The OrBorTor elections, which took place on July 18, generally went smoothly, with an overall turnout around Phuket of 59% of the total 85,025 eligible voters. In seven of the 88 villages involved, the results were a foregone conclusion. In six of these – Thepkrassatri, Cherng Talay, Vichit and three villages in Karon, there was only one candidates standing for each seat, while in one village in Karon, there were no candidates at all. At the other end of the scale was Kamala, which saw the hottest competition and the highest voter turnout – 83%. The number of bad or spoiled votes was also lowest in Kamala, with only 1.9% of the votes, compared with an average for the whole island of 2.74%. Officials said they had detected no bribery or vote-buying – and surely this was the case in those tambon where elections were uncontested. But in Kamala, the Gazette was told that sums as high as 2,000 baht were being offered for votes. One woman said that in her village the price had gone up from 1,000 baht the day before, to 2,000 baht on election day. She said she and her friends were approached and offered 1,500 baht each. “I actually voted for them,” she added. “I knew that I would feel guilty if I took their money and then didn’t do as I had promised. Also, I saw some of their friends sitting outside the polling booth, so I knew that, at the very least, they could check who came to vote and who didn’t.” A man from Koh Kaew echoed her thoughts, and added, “If you take money from one side and they lose, naturally I would assume they would be upset, and take revenge on those of us who took their money. Regardless of how they do it, it is just not a good feeling on our part.” Word on the street is that the really big money will be laid out today in the vote within each OrBorTor to decide who will sit on the three-member executive committee. Once again, Kamala will be the place where the greatest persuasive power will be brought to bear. The price of an OrBorTor member’s vote there is said to be as high as 500,000 baht.
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