Strong turnout for absentee vote

PHUKET: There was a strong voter turnout in advance polling for the December 23 general election, with 25,956 voters from around the country making their way to Phuket Community Hall on December 15 and 16 to cast absentee ballots in their home constituencies.

Phuket Election Commission (PEC) Director Supap Akkam told the Gazette that the turnout exceeded 85% of the 30,394 out-of-town voters who had registered to cast absentee ballots in Phuket.

The figures more than doubled the number casting absentee ballots during the last general election held in Phuket in 2005, he said.

Advance voting for Phuket-registered voters unable to go to the polls next Sunday took place at three polling stations, one in each district: the Kathu Army Petrol Depot in Kathu, the Thalang Pranangsang School in Thalang and Phuket Municipality Meeting Hall

A total of 6,546 voters, or 3% of all eligible voters, took the opportunity to cast ballots in advance. Most were in Muang District (4,717 voters), followed by Thalang (1,068) and Kathu (761).

There were no reports of spoiled ballots or illegal campaigning near polling stations while the voting was underway, said K. Supap.

As for the charges of Election Act violations lodged with the PEC against some of the candidates by their rivals, these cases were being investigated by the Election Commission (EC), he said.

He was unable to say whether any of the investigations would be completed before voters go to the polls this weekend.

If the winning party is later found to have violated the Election Act, their victory will be annulled and by-elections called, he added.

Nationwide, an unprecedented turnout of 2.9 million absentee and advance votes were cast.

The turnout of absentee voters exceeded 87.5%, amounting to 1.83 million ballots. Some 1.12 million voters cast advance ballots, EC member Prapun Naigowit said.

Phuket News
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