Resettled IDPs Allege Fraud as They Are Told Their Ballots Had ‘Already Been Used’

Monday, November 9, 2020

Locals in a village for resettled internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kachin State have said that they were turned away from voting in Burma’s general election on Sunday because their vote had already been cast by someone else in advance.

The villagers are from the community of Ngwe Pyaw San Pya in Myitkyina Township, established by the Kachin State government in 2014 to house IDPs who once lived in camps in Chipwe, Myitkyina, Sumprabum and Waingmaw townships.

“When I entered the polling station, someone had already used my ballot, but actually I had yet to cast my ballot. Someone had already signed my signature and taken my ballot, so I could not vote in the polling station,” Ngwe Pyaw San Pya resident Naw Rein, told NMG.

Another villager, Roi Tawng, said the same thing happened to her.

“This is fraud. This is cheating,” she said. “I wanted to cast my ballot today, but I have yet to cast my ballot.”

Roi Tawng described the November 8 election as “unfair” and said that if she was not able to vote, she wanted the ballot previously deemed to be hers to be rendered invalid.

Another resident, Wor Mee, said that since she is still under 60 years old, she was not eligible to vote in advance. Yet when she went to the polling station, she was told someone with her name had already voted.

“I don’t know why. I explained to polling officers that I didn’t cast an advance vote,” Wor Mee told NMG, adding, “Someone handed in my ballot before I actually cast my ballot.”

She was one voter who was allowed to re-cast her vote, after complaining to the polling station officers.

“I am an ethnic Lisu person. I wanted to cast my ballot for a Lisu political party,” Wor Mee said.

Other villagers in Ngwe Pyaw San Pya said that they were allowed to vote for parliamentary representatives, but denied a ballot for the ethnic affairs ministerial post, to which they were also entitled a vote.