Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint of PACE said, “We hope that the remaining processes- voting, closing and counting – will be as open and transparent as the opening process, and all the eligible voters go to the polling stations to cast their votes.”

Voter Registration Survey Preliminary Findings

The voter turnout is one of the major concerns on by-elections. Therefore, PACE enumerators tried to gauge the level of awareness of the people in the by-election locations.
● When PACE enumerators asked if they were aware that by-elections will happen in April in this township, almost two thirds (62%) of the respondents said they were aware about upcoming by-elections. More respondents from urban areas (68%) are aware than from rural areas (54%), and male respondents (70%) are more aware than women respondents (54%).

Vote-List-Display Observation Preliminary findings

PACE observers see voter education materials at more than four out of each five locations around the display centers but no trainings or meetings of voter education were seen at all. As observers are only observing in and around the immediate vicinity of the center, it is possible that voter education training or meeting could be happening in other locations.
▪ At more than four out of each five locations (82%), there were voter education materials, but at approximately 18% of the locations PACE did not see any voter education materials.

Campaign Monitoring Preliminary Findings (February 1 to March 5)

The campaign environment is one of the most important aspects contributing to the credibility of an election. Beginning on February 1 PACE deployed 22 long-term observers (LTOs) to the 22 townships where by-elections will be conducted on April 1 to assess whether all candidates are campaigning under equal conditions and within an environment of fairness and respect. During the observation, PACE’s LTOs interviewed members of township sub-commissions, candidates and voters to understand their perception of the campaign environment. Moreover, LTOs also monitored rallies to observe where campaign activities were organized, which materials were distributed, how they reached out to voters, and whether their speeches were respectful of others and consistent with the law.

WHY WE OBSERVED

“Even though there are only a few seats in this upcoming by-election, I think it is a crucial and important process to observe. It is important to measure to what extent the recommendations made last year by domestic and international observers have been taken into consideration to improve the election process, including areas such as the independence of the Union Election Commission, the capacity of the sub-commissions and their communication with UEC, the administration of election-day procedures, the process to update the voter list and the quality of the voter list itself, more transparent mechanisms for advanced voting, the role of civil society, and citizen access to election information, said Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint, Executive Director of PACE.”

The UEC announced that out of 31 vacant constituencies, 19 will hold by-elections on April 1, 2017. The tentative timeline for the by-elections process was also announced in late October.

PROCESSES TO BE OBSERVED

PACE will observe the following aspects of the 2017 by-election process:

  1. Candidate nomination
  2. Voter list display process
  3. Campaign environment
  4. Quality of the voter list through an independent verification
  5. In-constituency advanced voting
  6. Election-day process
  7. Vote tabulation

PACE will deploy a total of 30 long-term observers (LTOs) during the pre-election period in the 22 townships where by-elections will take place. The organization will deploy an additional 80 enumerators to conduct a systematic voter-list verification in all by-election townships. On election day, more than 600 short-term observers (STOs) will be deployed to observe the opening, voting, closing and vote counting processes at a random sample of polling stations in all the vacant constituencies.

METHODOLOGY

Throughout this process, PACE will use systematic methodologies designed to ensure that its observation captures the quality of the election process in an objective and unbiased manner. For example, this methodology will ensure that observers will be present in both urban and rural areas, in areas where elections will go smoothly and in those that might present more challenges. Systematic observation like the one that will be used by PACE have been used by domestic observers in more than 50 countries.

In accordance with the UEC’s guidelines for domestic observation, PACE has applied for accreditation for its long-term and short-term observers for the 2017 by-election process.

Observation Process

STEP 1

Candidate nomination

STEP 2

Voter list display process

STEP 3

Campaign environment

STEP 4

In-constituency advanced voting

STEP 5

Election-day process

STEP 6

Vote tabulation

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