With just a week left before campaigning begins for Myanmar's Nov. 8 general election, Kyaw Thu of RFA's Myanmar Service interviewed Ton Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission on policies concerning voter registration and security at the polls.
RFA: Mr. Chairman, we know that final voter list will be announced this month. Could you tell exactly when?
Tin Aye: The final list will be out in mid September. We will announce the exact date tomorrow. It will be 14 days prior to the poll date.
RFA: At that point, if there is any error, is there still a chance to correct it?
Tin Aye: Yes. When we announce it, we will post it on bulletin boards. We invite everyone to come and verify the list. If anything incorrect is found, please inform us under Election Law Article 4 A. If your name is still not there, you can claim it under Article 4 C.
RFA: There are now nearly 1 million people affected by severe floods nationwide. What is the Union Election Commission’s role in ensuring their right to vote on time?
Tin Aye: Number 1 is they should ensure that they are on the voters' list. If they are not on the list, they don’t have the right to vote. We will post the lists in those regions too. They will be given more time, while the others will have 14 days to verify the data. Depending on their situation, we will make sure there is a suitable arrangement for them to verify their data in time. There is a voter ID which will be issued 7 days before the elections. They should have this ID when they come to vote.
RFA: In some cases, if they do not have enough time to vote, is there any possibility to delay or postpone voting for them?
Tin Aye: No. Voting is on election day only.
RFA: In some areas where there is armed conflict between ethnic groups and the army, do you have any plan for security of polling stations and security of the voters?
Tin Aye: We will negotiate (with armed groups, or regional authorities) where there are security concerns for elections. We will ask their perspectives in advance. We have a law which states that if there are security concerns that will impact holding free and fair elections in an area, we can arrange to postpone it. Otherwise, we will hold the elections there.