Final Report: February 1 to 14, 2017
Executive Summary March 17, 2017
PACE recognizes the Union Election Commission’s (UEC) efforts to ensure that all display centers were open to observers and all materials necessary to make changes in voter list were available.
During its observation of the public display of the voter list, PACE witnessed that a small number of voters visited the centers to check their information and that very few people submitted forms to request changes.
PACE calls on all stakeholders, including the UEC, political parties, local CSOs and the international community to encourage voters check their information during the second/final list display, scheduled for March 17 to 25.
The following findings are based on direct observations by PACE observers in 22 randomly selected wards and villages across the by-election areas during eight days between February 1 and 14, 2017.
PACE observers reported voter education materials at more than four out of each five locations around the display centers, but did not report seeing any voter education trainings or meetings. As observers only monitored within the center and its immediate vicinity, it is possible that voter education training or meeting could have happened in other locations without the observers’ knowledge.
- There were voter education materials at more than four out of each five locations (82%).
- PACE observers saw posters in 76% of locations and pamphlets in 25%. In 11% 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 of the locations (52%), 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 were observed 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.
- Most centers (95%) started the voter list display on February 1 as scheduled and opened the updating process to the public all the time during the observation period.
- PACE was allowed to observe in all centers.
- Most centers (94%) had all necessary forms and displayed the voters list.
- In 81% 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. Of the officials present, 93% provided 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 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. NLD was present at 9% of the centers and USDP at 7%.
- At approximately 80% of the centers, PACE did not see any other civil society volunteers.
Turnout and Submission of Changes
In the centers where PACE observed, volunteers saw quite modest turnout overall.
- In 91% of centers, PACE observed that only a small number of people (0-50) came to check their names during the observation.
- In 57% of centers, PACE did not observe any voters submitting forms. PACE cannot say why voters did not submit forms. In 35% 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 the centers, PACE observers did not witness 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 the Union Election Commission (UEC)
- Intensify voter education for the second display beginning on March 17, ensuring that voters are aware of all relevant details, such as the dates and locations of the display and office hours.
To Political Parties
- Develop an effective strategy for mobilizing and encouraging voters to check their information during the second display.
To Civil Society
- Identify and assess the places where voter education and mobilization are weak and intensify voter education programs at those areas to inform voters about the second display.
Starting on February 1, the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE) deployed 30 Long Term Observers (LTOs) to randomly selected wards and village tracts to observe the voter list display process in the 22 townships where by-elections are scheduled. For eight days during the February 1- 14 display, PACE observed 22 display centers across eight states/regions. The 30 LTOs were trained in Yangon in mid-January on the voter list updating process, the code of conduct for non-partisan observers, and how to complete the check-list and report back to PACE’s Yangon office in a timely way.
For the voter list display observation, PACE focused only on the update process and not at the completeness or accuracy of the voter’s information. Particularly, PACE checked the level of voter engagement, efficiency of the sub-commission’s capacities and procedures, and the presence of party representatives and others. Each LTOs was assigned to observe a specific display center for eight days over the two-weeks display period.
The People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE) is an independent, non-partisan, non-government domestic election observer group based in Yangon. PACE was founded in 2013 to strengthen democratic institutions in Myanmar through safeguarding citizen rights and promoting public participation in the electoral process. To promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in the electoral process, PACE works on civic and voter education, election observation and electoral reform.
Neichi Minn, 09 7979 6969 4, [email protected]
90,7A, Kan Road Condo,
Kan Road, Hlaing, Yangon