There will be some significant changes to the polling rules for coming 13th GE: eg disabled persons can now be assisted by any `trusted friends’ in casting their ballots -a departure from previous arrangement where only close relatives are allowed. This change means that party officials can get into the polling booth to legally `assist’ the disabled voter. Why? Is this an improvement or an arrangement to open the door for political interference into the polling process? More problems may be found when the full range of `changes’ are disclosed! The EC has certainly try to `change’ -but the changes they bring in may not be the change that the people expect!
Slight changes to voting process for next general election
Posted on July 12, 2012, Thursday
THIS IS THE WAY: Abdul Aziz shows how the new system works during a press conference at his office in Putrajaya. — Bernama photo
PUTRAJAYA: There will be slight changes to the voting process for the next general election to ensure more transparent polls based on recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform.
Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said the placement of the voting booth would be different to enable representatives of political parties to have a better view of the voter and the voting process.
He said three poll clerks would be stationed in the polling room where the first clerk would check the voter’s name, face and finger (whether it had been marked with indelible ink), and read aloud the page number, serial number, identity card number and the name of the voter to enable representatives of political parties to countercheck them on the electoral roll.
The second clerk will put the indelible ink on the voter’s left forefinger while the third clerk will stamp the ballot paper and hand over the counterfoil to the voter, he said at a media briefing here yesterday.
Abdul Aziz said the serial number and the stamp on the ballot paper would be unique and different from one polling stream to another besides the ballot papers would have security features that could only be seen under ultraviolet radiation to determine whether they were fake or additional ballot papers had been brought in.
Assuring voters that every vote is secret, he said although the ballot paper would have a serial number, it could not be traced as the serial number in the electoral roll would no longer be recorded at the bottom of the counterfoil.
“Before 2004, the clerk, who issued the ballot paper, was required by law to write down the serial number from the electoral roll on the counterfoil with the aim of tracing whom voters voted for in the event of a recount was needed if there was a petition.
“But this had been amended and the serial number will not be recorded on the counterfoil. So we cannot trace who take the counterfoil, and the poll clerk who gives the ballot paper is not allowed to carry any writing utensil,” he said.
For a physically challenged person, Abdul Aziz said he would be allowed to be assisted by a friend or a trusted person aged 21 years and above, who are Malaysian citizens, unlike before when he could bring along a person who had family ties.
On the use of indelible ink, he hoped it would not be disputed as it had been proven impermeable to water and would remain on the skin of the finger and nail, not harmful to health, and ruled halal and permissible by National Fatwa Council.
He said different colours of ink would be used for early voting and normal voting processes, where the ink used for early voting would last longer. —Bernama