BANGKOK — After overseas ballots from New Zealand for the general election were voided because of alleged “late delivery,” Thais registered to vote in the island nation vented their anger Wednesday to protest the Election Commission’s decision.
Minutes after the commission announced Tuesday afternoon that all 1,542 overseas ballots had been invalidated, Facebook user Soracha Boonmee – who registered to vote in Wellington – posted on her page condemning the commission’s work.
“It’s inefficient, irresponsible and unfair,” Soracha wrote. “I fought so hard for my right to vote, but in the end I lost the right because of such lousy work? Give me back my Uber fare!”
Soracha said she was the first voter to arrive at 8am on March 9 at the Thai Embassy in New Zealand, before catching a flight to Bangkok.
Overseas voter Thanyakorn Piyapattanakul, a 20-year-old student at Auckland University, said she spent hours on March 10 to commute from her residence to a polling unit in the city.
Thanyakorn said she felt “sad and disappointed” after she knew her ballot was among the more than 1,500 invalidated votes.
“[Thailand’s] democracy is not barely there. I expected better, being able to use my first-time right to vote, but I ended up being disappointed,” she said Wednesday.
Thanyakorn said she and 20 Thai students will write a letter to New Zealand media, pressing the Election Commission to show their responsibility toward such incident.
On Tuesday, the commission ruled unanimously that all ballots from New Zealand would be invalidated because it received them after Sunday’s vote counting had already concluded.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry – accused of not picking up the ballots when they arrived – apologized Tuesday morning but blamed a communication failure and repeated transfer delays for the mishap.
Thai Airways’ president said the airline had informed related authorities beforehand that the ballots would arrive Saturday night in Thailand, but no one went to pick them up.