The Election Commission has started displaying the draft supplementary electoral roll for the first quarter of the year (Q1 2017).
This will be the first time that the EC is not giving political parties the soft copy of the drafts; nor would political parties be able to buy the hard copy.
The EC did not give any reason for its decision, merely saying that it suffices for interested parties to view the rolls at the 960 designated places across the country.
BERSIH 2.0 disagrees and disputes this as political parties – who have the most at stake in this process – have only 10 days of working hours starting today till 22 May to sift through some 500 pages of one parliamentary constituency with an average of 1,500 names, to make sure that all is in order. And they will need to go through the draft supplementary rolls for all 222 parliamentary constituencies.
The EC must explain why after having given out the drafts in soft copy over the past years it suddenly decided to stop doing so. What has changed detrimentally and for whom? What is the EC worried about? And why now, even an ordinary member of the public cannot get their hands on a copy of the draft?
Particularly damning is that this move by the EC appears to be its response to recent exposés by numerous parties, including BERSIH 2.0, of the illegal shifting of voters in the Q3 and Q4 2016 draft supplementary rolls. We have also warned that the number of dubious voters will continue to increase in subsequent quarters as we get closer to elections. We have thus warned all interested parties, including ordinary voters, to be vigilant against such phantom voters and to check the draft quarterly rolls for their presence.
As it is, instead of helping to expel phantom voters from the roll, the EC is actually frustrating such checks and even doing the opposite by ‘hiding’ such dubious voters from being detected before the rolls are gazetted for the coming fourteenth general election.
BERSIH 2.0 reiterates our outrage at what we see as a deliberate attempt by the EC to shrink this important avenue to fight for a clean electoral roll.
Such control of information in favour of the ruling party raises the question – is the EC taking orders from its ‘political masters’?
If not, it is being ridiculous by not being in touch with technology, which is supposed to help it work better!
The EC should note that such an action is not what makes “an excellent democratic elections management institution that has the trust of citizens”, as per its stated vision.
If the EC continues to keep silent on this and many other electoral irregularities, BERSIH 2.0 can only conclude from its actions that it does not want its wrongdoings to be exposed and is actually working to compromise the electoral roll! This is no less than an act of sabotage by the very institution whose mission is stated as “upholding the parliamentary democratic system and ensuring the right of citizens to choose their representatives by managing, monitoring and conducting elections freely and fairly”.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee