(31 January) Ballot papers without official stamps from the Election Commission (EC) are as good as those with the stamps, the EC has announced.
The department of election administration office of the EC made the announcement today after anti-government critics on the social network circulated an EC-issued memo informing its officials that some ballots for 2 February would not bear the official stamps.
The memo has raised concerns that the practice invites potential vote rigging and might convince the courts to nullify the result of 2 February election.
But Mr. Matha Silapun, director-general of EC′s election administration office, said the EC allowed the use of non-stamped ballots after protesters led by the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) shut down the ballot publishing house on 27 January.
The distribution of ballot papers would be more swift if EC officials are not required to put stamps on them, he said.
Mr. Matha also explained that the stamp on the ballot paper is merely required by internal rule within the Election Commission, and does not involve any law.
Furthermore, Mr. Matha said, the EC employs many other measures to prevent the unauthorised distribution or counterfeit of ballot papers.
"This procedure alone is not sufficient for the court to nullify the election," Mr. Matha insisted.
Stamped Ballot Papers have also been distributed around the country, and will be used in the election on Sunday alongside the non-stamped ones, said Mr. Matha.
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