BANGKOK — An election official said Monday a voter in Samut Songkhram province was allowed to mark 17 ballot papers on her own due to a misunderstanding at the polling station.
Pinthong Intarasri, an official in charge of yesterday’s early voting in the province, told reporters the voter was given a bundle of ballots while registering at a voting booth – and somehow assumed she could mark them all. The ballot papers were later destroyed and the voter charged with a criminal offense.
The voter was identified as 27-year-old Benjamaporn Sila-or, who said she had no intent to commit fraud in the election. Under election laws, each voter can only mark one ballot. Benjamaporn said she had the rules mixed up because it’s the second time she voted in her life.
Pinthong said the woman marked the ballots, gave one to an official and then left the rest at a table. They were discovered by another voter in the line, prompting voting to stop for an hour and a half while officials investigated and found replacement ballots, Pinthong said.
She added that Benjamaporn was taken to a police station and charged with causing damage to voting equipment, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. It is unclear which party Benjamaporn voted for.
The incident and other mishaps marred Sunday’s early voting, which saw voter turnout of up to 80 percent. Other complaints included long lines, ballots from the wrong constituencies being handed out and officials putting marked ballots in plastic bags.
The Election Commission faced yet another round of embarrassment when it unveiled what it said to be a QR code for its website at a news conference on Monday. The code turned out to be an error, which led users at the event to a web page selling skincare products instead.