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Sunday July 8, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday May 30, 2013 MYT 10:50:20 AM
by razak ahmad
PETALING JAYA: The country's first advance voting system, involving more than 260,000 military and police personnel and their spouses, is all set to go.
Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said they would cast their ballots between one and three days before polling day in the 13th general election.
There are 108,205 police personnel and their spouses and 159,343 armed forces personnel and their spouses in the registered rolls of voters.
“The process will be exactly like ordinary voting, except that instead of using schools, we will use certain military camps and district and state police headquarters because we don't want party workers gathering outside the polling venues,” Wan Ahmad told The Star.
He said balloting would be fully managed by EC personnel with candidates and election agents allowed to observe the process.
Advance voting was among the recommendations of a Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms, which presented its report to the Dewan Rakyat in April.
Before the introduction of the advance voting, soldiers and police personnel had to cast their ballots through postal voting.
Postal votes have been the subject of many criticisms because of the lack of transparency. Parts of the voting process were handled by military and police officers in camps and barracks off-limits to civilians.
“Increasing transparency is one of the reasons why we are introducing advance voting for members of the armed forces, police personnel and their spouses,” said Wan Ahmad.
Despite the introduction of advance voting, postal voting will still be allowed, but only for military and police personnel serving in the jungles, border areas and at sea during polling day.
All military and police personnel who wish to cast their ballots by post would have to apply in advance to the EC.
Besides the security services, EC staff who would be on duty, journalists, full-time Malaysian students overseas and civil servants based abroad and their spouses can also apply to be postal voters.
On preparations for advance voting, Wan Ahmad said the EC had recruited presiding officers and polling clerks, adding that training for staff and volunteers had been completed for most states.
He said the final touches like EC coordination meetings with related government departments, political parties as well as promotional activities would be done closer to polling day.
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