On July 03 elections will witness not only massive vote buying, but also an increased risk of Elections to vote by placing their lives at risk, while some with more influence can earn double commissions of politicians willing to pay whatever it takes to win.
The rules have changed and elections must adapt to the new electoral law, which calls for votes to be counted at polling stations. This rule is not really new, because the electoral law has changed between the counting at polling stations and counting centers in the district.
The 1997 Constitution provides for the counting of votes at polling stations, but the rule changed in 2006 for the counting of votes in district centers. Recent changes to the Constitution of 2007 votes to be counted at polling stations.
The reason behind the change? The legislators believe that counting the ballots at polling stations to speed up the presentation of election results, keep the problem from the polls that are exchanged during transport, and stop buying votes. That is because groups are smaller and the votes are counted only once in each polling station.
With counting centers constituency, the votes of many polling stations were combined, but with the count at polling stations, candidates MP can check if their choices are able to help them buy votes as promised. Elections also fear being punished for not meeting the objectives of vote buying.
“By counting the ballots at polling stations, candidates can check MP elections reaching its vote buying. Police are watching closely to see if this will provoke violence,”a source said yesterday.
Surveys have found that many elections do not dare to commit themselves to politicians, since it can not guarantee 100 percent success in winning a number of seats through vote buying.
The rule change does not deter politicians from buying votes. In Chiang Rai, elections show that advance commissions have already received 30 percent of the total money to buy votes. Politicians are quick to make advances for fear that the elections will accept the work of their rivals. The smaller the town, the easier to buy votes. MP candidates prepare average-BT500 BT300 by vote and the price jumps to Bt1, 000 in remote areas.
Elections are classified as community leaders, people with influence on teens, kamnan and village heads.
“Community leaders accept commissions from both rival political parties. Do not care that the votes be counted at polling stations, and politicians say that only they can give a guarantee of 50 percent to win the seats they want. If can not meet this goal, they are willing to return some money,”said the source.
Politicians who are not happy with this evasiveness may choose to use other choices, he said.
In Lampang, a polling officer who declined to be identified said that politicians had become more and more aggressive tactics of buying votes in every election. From kamnan pressure, village chiefs and community volunteers, politicians check the number of its followers in every area before giving money to elections to buy votes. BT500 money for each vote-buying, BT200 is given to verifiers.
In the south, a stronghold of the Democratic Party, vote buying is harder because the constituents are loyal to the Democrats.
“Voters take the money, but vote for the rival Democrats. The politicians then have to buy votes, giving a lump sum of money for weddings, ceremonies take credit for the constituents. In this way you can earn at least 20 votes from the payment of a BT20, 000,”the source said.
A polling officer in Surat Thani, said a politician has been prepared on BT20 million to buy votes and elections threatened to kill him receiving money, but do not bring enough votes as promised.
A congressional candidate in Phetchaburi also admitted that small groups make it easier to buy votes. But as rival candidates also buy votes, they have to up the ante to win votes.
“Vote buying by giving money to a polling officer in particular is not as effective as giving money to many choices – including the management of about 50 testers voters, but the latter method can cost more than politicians,” he said.
Many politicians also promised bonuses if they win the elections, which will be shared between elections and voters.
A polling officer, said that with more stringent laws and the fact that the Electoral Commission and bodies to combat vote buying are armed with technology, he feared being caught with the evidence of vote buying.
“I’ll just give money to buy votes with my relatives, close friends and not people who do not know,”he said.
Ratchaburi is one of the provinces on the race will be tough, so elections would not dare to commit to any party.
“It’s difficult to misappropriate the money to buy votes and the votes will be counted at polling stations. It’s scary. No one dares to be an election agent of any party even though they are keenly with juicy commissions” said a polling officer in the province.
Press Release: Nation