PACE has shared the preliminary finding of voter registration survey and voter list monitoring with Media on February 13 at Parkroyal Hotel in Yangon.
Please download the report here;
Press Release: Preliminary Findings of Voter Registration Survey
February 13, 2017
In late January, PACE conducted a survey of citizen perceptions of the voter list and voter registration process throughout the areas that will conduct by-elections on April 1. Below are some of the survey findings.
Awareness of By-election
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%).
Door-to-Door Voter Registration
Last November, the Union Election Commission (UEC) conducted a door-to-door voter list update in the 22 townships where by-elections are scheduled. PACE’s survey assessed citizens’ perception, engagement and opinion of the door-to-door process.
● PACE enumerators asked “In November last year, the UEC conducted a door-to-door update of the voter list. Did you hear about it?” Two thirds (65%) of the respondents said that they had heard of it. When it comes to urban and rural, respondents from urban areas (73%) are more aware than respondent from rural ones (55%), but there is no different between male respondents (66%) and female respondents (65%).
● When PACE enumerators asked “During the door to door update, was your household visited?”, a majority of the respondents (55%) said that their household had been visited. Less than half of the respondents (45%) in rural areas said their households were visited, compared to almost two thirds (62%) in urban areas.
● When PACE enumerators asked “If your household was visited, was any of your information on the voter list updated during the door-to-door visit?” nearly all (92%) of the respondents said they did not make any changes. There was no significant gap between urban and rural, and women and man.
Awareness, information sources and citizen intentions regarding the Vote-List Display
During the voter list display for the 2015 elections, only a small number of people visited their local election sub-commissions to check their information1. This might also be a concern for upcoming by-elections. Therefore, PACE enumerators gauged citizens’ awareness of the voter display process for the upcoming by-elections in April.
● When PACE enumerators asked “The UEC is planning to conduct a display and update of the voter list in February. Have you heard anything about the voter list display?”, only four out of ten respondents (41%) were aware of the display, but roughly half (51%) were not aware.
● When PACE enumerators continued asking “How did you hear about the voter display?”, 39% of the respondents said they received information from television. While respondents from rural received information more from television (44%) and radio (21%), respondents from urban received information from television (39%) and newspapers/journals (15%).
● When PACE enumerators asked “Do you plan to check your voter list information?”, almost two thirds of the respondents (63%) said they planned to check their information at the list display. When PACE enumerators continued asking “Why are you planning to check your information on the list?”, nearly half of the respondents (45%) said they were “not sure if name is on the list”.
● When PACE enumerators asked “How do you plan to verify your information?”, more than four of each five respondents (85%) said they are planning to check their names at the display location, while only one in 25 respondents (4%) planned to check online. When PACE enumerators asked “Do you know where to check your information on the voter list?”, nearly half of the respondents (46%) said they did not know where they need to go for checking their names.
Perception of the voter list
To understand the perception and opinion of the people on voter list and updating process, PACE enumerators asked if they thought that they were on the list or not and how did they get on the list.
● When PACE enumerators asked “Do you believe that you are on the voter list?”, three of every four (respondents (75%) said that they believed that they were on the list; 15% said they didn’t know.
● When PACE enumerators asked “How did your name get on the list?”, a majority of the respondents (58%) said it had been added automatically. This perception was stronger in rural areas, where it was held by almost three of each four (72%) citizens, compared to roughly half (48%) in urban areas.
● When PACE enumerators asked people who believed their name is on the list “Is your name on the list in this location or somewhere else?”, almost nine out of ten (88%) said that they were on the list at their current location. While most rural respondents (95%) believed that they were on the list at their current location, the proportion was lower (82%) for urban respondents. When PACE enumerators asked “Why is your name on the list in another location?”, nearly half (48%) of the respondents answered that they were “temporary residents for work”.
● When PACE enumerators asked “Did you check your name in the voter list before the 2015elections?”, more than half of the respondent (54%) said they did not check their name.
Perception and vote intention in upcoming by-elections
● When PACE enumerators asked “What are your biggest concerns for the upcoming by-elections?”, almost two thirds (63%) of the respondents answered that they did not have any concerns.
● When PACE enumerators asked “For the 2017 by-elections, some people are planning to vote and some people are not for various reasons. Can you please tell me on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is definitely will not vote and 5 is will definitely vote, how likely you are to vote?”, majority of the respondents (57%) indicated that they will definitely vote in the by-elections (by answering “5” on the scale)
“For the 2017 by-elections, some people are planning to vote and some people are not for various reasons. Can you please tell me on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is definitely will not vote and 5 is will definitely vote, how likely you are to vote?”,
Press Release: Vote-List-Display Observation
Preliminary findings; First Weekend (February 1 to 8, 2017)
February 13, 2017
The following findings are based on direct observations by PACE observers in 22 randomly selected wards and villages across the by-election areas during the four days between February 2 and 5.
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.
▪ PACE observers saw posters in approximately 75% of locations and pamphlets in 24%. In 12% of locations, PACE observed the use of loudspeakers. PACE observers did not see any voter education meetings or trainings during the period of observation.
▪ In more than half (52%) of the locations, no actor was observed conducting voter education activities. In one third of the places (34%), the local election sub-commissions were conducting voter education activities; in 18% of the places, CSOs are conducting voter education.
Display Center Management and Materials
To understand the administrative procedures of the centers, PACE observed their layout, the presence of materials, opening hours, and the behavior of display officials to ensure that changes requested by voters would be processed according to UEC’s guidelines.
▪ 95% of the centers started voter list display on February 1 as scheduled and opened the updating process to the public all the time during the observation period.
▪ In all centers, PACE was allowed to observe.
▪ 94% of the centers had all necessary forms and displayed the voters list.
▪ In 77% of the centers, lists were displayed so that all voters, including elderly and disabled, could easily see the list.
▪ At 94% of the centers, display officials were present and of the officials present, 88% were providing assistance to people who required it.
Presence of Political Parties and CSOs
During the first week of the display, PACE found that at most centers observed there were no political party representatives or other CSO volunteers present.
▪ At approximately 86% of the centers, PACE did not see any political party representatives.
▪ At approximately 78% of the centers, PACE did not see any other civil society volunteers.
Turnout and Submission of Changes
In centers PACE observed, observers saw quite modest turnout overall.
● In 57% of centers, PACE did not observe any voters submitting forms. PACE cannot say why voters did not submit forms. In 39% of centers, only a few people (1 to10) submitted forms to make changes to the list.
Intimidation and Interference
A safe environment is one of the most important factors contributing to voter turnout. PACE observed whether any intimidation occurred in and around the centers. In nearly all of the centers, we did not see intimidation of voters or interference by unauthorized persons.
▪ In nearly all centers, PACE did not see any intimidation of voters.
▪ In nearly all centers, PACE did not see any interference by unauthorized persons in the process.
To Union Election Commission (UEC)
Reaching out to the voters is still a big challenge and UEC should intensify voter education for the rest of the display.
If UEC decides to extent the display period, the detail schedules (where, when, how) should be public and, more effective and efficient mechanism should be developed to reached out the voters.
To Political Parties
Political parties should develop an effective strategy for reaching out or mobilizing the voters.
To Civil Society
To identify and assess the places where voter education and mobilization are weak, intensify voter education programs at those areas.