Six State Election, Another Missed Opportunity to Reform Postal Voting System

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) welcomes the announcement of the dates for the six state elections by the Election Commission (EC) today. We are glad that the elections will be held simultaneously on the same dates, culminating on Polling Day on 12 August 2023, a Saturday, with Nomination Day on 29 July and Early Voting on 8 August. We believe six different election dates for six state elections would have prolonged the politicking and add to the confusion and lethargy for voters.

However, Bersih is dismayed that the campaign period is still only 14 days, from 29 July till 11 August as this would place much pressure on postal voters, in particular, Category 1B overseas voters to deliver their ballots back in time to their Returning Officers on Polling Day. Since GE14 we have received numerous reports from overseas voters that by the time they received their postal ballots, it was either very close to Polling Day or passed it. Campaign periods should be a minimum of 21 days.

If the EC is unwilling to extend the campaign period, then we call on them to reform the postal voting system completely. They should allow postal voters to download their ballots and other documents in PDF format to eliminate the need for EC to post or courier the ballots to them. This would also eliminate clerical errors commonly found with current process of manually writing out serial numbers and stuffing envelopes. It would also be a huge cost saving for the EC.

But for this 6 state elections, we are glad that citizen volunteer groups like Global Bersih and VoteMalaysia will once again mobilize their global networks to collect overseas postal ballots and have them delivered to their respective ROs. Such noble efforts should be fully supported and we urge the Foreign Ministry to direct all Malaysia Halls to allow volunteers to use it as collection centres.

Bersih urges all eligible voters of the six states to come out and vote as their choice would have a direct impact on the quality of administration for their surrounding since state governments still appoint the local councillors and mayor’s who run our local authorities.

Statement issued by;
The Steering Committee of Bersih