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Thread: EC mulls proxy voting in election law changes

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    EC mulls proxy voting in election law changes

    Watch this carefully. SPR will be up to their usual tricks. Why is there no public hearing to discuss these changes to the Election Laws? They affect our votes and is the most critical element in a democracy - the right to a free and fair election.

    EC mulls proxy voting in election law changes
    By G. Manimaran
    Bahasa Malaysia Editor
    January 16, 2011



    Abdul Aziz said the EC is considering several amendments to election laws. – Pic by Jack Ooi

    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The Election Commission (EC) is studying the possibility of implementing a proxy voting system that would empower individuals to cast ballots on behalf of other registered voters.

    (We currently have problems with phantom voters and the use of indelible ink was supposed to reduce it. Instead of implementing that, they think of new tricks to fool the voters.)

    EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told The Malaysian Insider the proposal would be among some 30 amendments to election laws in the country that the commission hoped to table in the coming Parliament sitting in March.

    The proposed amendments, he added, would likely be presented to the Cabinet next month and, once approved, should be implemented in time for the 13th general election.

    It is widely speculated that the Najib administration will call for polls by year-end.

    “Our target is the 13th general election... insya-Allah (God willing), our target is that these amendments be passed this year, early this year, and it will be brought to Parliament and Cabinet.

    “Hopefully, we can push it to the March parliamentary sitting, failing which, the one in June,” he said during a recent interview.

    Abdul Aziz added that the amendments would not come into effect in time for the Sarawak state elections, which must be called by July this year.

    He explained that the proxy voting system was aimed at enabling those who were unable to be present on polling days to have their votes cast by approved proxies.
    The system, he added, was different from postal voting.

    Abdul Aziz admitted, however, that the system would not be easy to implement but gave his assurance that, if approved, it would be monitored tightly to prevent abuse.
    (Question: Do you trust the EC?

    “There are ways... there are ways. Other countries have also implemented such systems,” he said.

    For example, according to information obtained from the Toronto election website, voters who are unable to be present on voting days can apply for the privilege of having proxy voters cast ballots on their behalf.

    In Toronto, Canada, the proxy voting system allows voters to surrender their votes to others living in the same constituency.

    Here, a proxy voter is prohibited from voting on behalf of more than two registered voters, and an application for the privilege must be made a day before polling.

    The last time the EC proposed comprehensive amendments to election laws in Malaysia was in 2002.

    Abdul Aziz said that although this round of amendments involved about 30 issues, these would not be as comprehensive as the previous exercise.

    He refused to divulge more details on the proposed amendments, pointing out that they were still being studied.

    “I cannot reveal what we plan on amending or give examples. Like what I said before, if the game (election) has not begun, the referee cannot blow the whistle.
    (This feller thinks this is a game. And the EC is the referee to help UMNO win.

    “There are many amendments, involving several acts and regulations... but I apologise, I cannot reveal them yet,” he said.

    Abdul Aziz added, however, that the amendments were aimed at ensuring the election process was more smooth and transparent.

    It is likely that the latest round of amendments could involve an extension to nomination days or the postal voting system.

    It is also believed that the EC is presently weighing changes to the present voter registration system and the transfer of voting addresses.

    Abdul Aziz said the current amendments would also look at altering the use of terms in election laws that were deemed inappropriate, adding that it would take into account current advances in information communications and technology.

    “For example, we are studying the suitability of the word ‘membuang undi’ (cast votes)... ‘membuang undi’ is inappropriate. These are words found in our legislation and they need to be studied and replaced with more appropriate words,” he said.

    To run an election, the EC presently refers to the Federal Constitution, state Constitutions, Elections Act 1958, Elections Offences Act 1954, Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 and Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003. TheMalaysiaInsider....
    py

  2. #2
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    DAP: Proxy vote will cripple PR

    DAP: Proxy vote will cripple PR
    By Yow Hong Chieh
    January 17, 2011



    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The DAP has alleged that a proposed proxy-voting system will cripple the opposition in the next general election as it would lead to vote-buying and phantom voting.

    The party said the Election Commission’s (EC) proposal would possibly strike a fatal blow to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) hopes of seizing Putrajaya as it would open up “another avenue of abuse” for Barisan Nasional (BN) to exploit.

    “Allowing proxy voting will only add on to BN’s arsenal of weapons against PR to defend Putrajaya at all costs,” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (picture) said in a statement today.

    The Malaysian Insider reported earlier today that the EC was studying the possibility of implementing a proxy-voting system that would empower individuals to cast ballots on behalf of other registered voters.

    EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the proposal would be among some 30 amendments to election laws in the country that the commission hoped to table in the coming Parliament sitting in March.

    Lim said today BN’s “abysmal record of perverting clean conduct” and the EC’s failure to monitor and ensure compliance meant there were serious concerns that proxy voting would only serve to legitimise the practice of employing phantom voters.

    PR alleges that BN frequently uses phantom voters — voters from outside the constituency and other ineligible voters — to boost votes in their favour during elections.

    The Penang chief minister said if the EC was sincere about letting absentee voters cast their vote, the EC should have allowed Malaysians living overseas to register and vote at Malaysia’s embassies.

    Lim also said Abdul Aziz’s announcement that some 30 amendments to election laws were in the works showed that the EC wanted to “surprise and handicap” the opposition, who were not informed of the proposals beforehand.

    He explained that PR may not have the time, manpower or resources to cope with the latest changes brought about by the proposals.

    “How then can EC by trusted as a credible body that is free, fair, neutral and independent in conducting elections?” he asked.

    Lim said the DAP would direct its national vice-chairman Tan Kok Wai and party youth chief Anthony Loke to meet with the EC to register its objections “in the strongest possible terms”.

    He added that DAP leaders were going to keep tabs on the EC for possible gerrymandering, saying parliamentary and state constituencies redrawn in favour of BN were “loaded dice” that would ensure PR lost before the contest even began. TheMalaysiaInsider....
    py

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    Proxy Voting: 10 election reforms we would like to see

    10 election reforms we would like to see
    GUEST COLUMNISTS

    Saturday, 29 January 2011 Combat

    By P. Gunasegaram, The Star

    There are more urgent things to address before considering proxy voting.
    IT seems to us that the Election Commission is putting the cart before the horse. Yes, there could be some benefits to proxy voting under some circumstances, but there are much more urgent things to be addressed before we even come to that.

    To better ascertain what should be the urgent reforms to elections, let us start with what elections should be, irrespective of which party we support, but from our standpoint as fellow Malaysians.

    No one will disagree that elections must be free and fair, without threats and intimidation, with everyone being given equal opportunity and time to air and debate their views so that the public makes an informed choice.

    Elections must also be representative of what people want. As much as possible of the adult population must be encouraged to vote and as far as possible, one must ensure the principle of proportional representation where the majority chooses the government of the day and all have representation in the legislatures.

    With these in mind, here are 10 urgent reforms the Election Commission should undertake as soon as possible.

    1. Automatic voter registration. Why the need to require voters to register? We have probably the most sophisticated identity card system in the world, with all relevant information contained in a single microchip embedded in our identity card. Simply use this to verify voters – nothing else is required. That move alone will increase participation in the election process more than any other move we can think of and truly help make democracy work.

    2. Compulsory voting. The purists will argue that this is well, undemocratic. But even in a democracy we must require that citizens discharge their obligations – such as getting an IC, and yes voting. Make it compulsory to vote and more people will vote. And make it simple for those outside the country to vote if they are not here through a foolproof system, which does not necessarily have to be proxy voting.

    3. Lower voting age to 18 from 21. This will ensure that a much larger proportion of the adult population votes. A person can go to jail at the age of 18, get married, work, etc. That means at that age, a person basically becomes an adult as he assumes full and sole responsibility for his actions. It is only reasonable that he be given the right to vote along with his assumption of adult responsibilities.

    4. Promote proportional representation. We all know some constituencies are rather small – sometimes as little as a tenth of another. That makes it difficult to meet the principle of one-man one-vote because in some constituencies fewer votes elect a representative. To overcome such problems, populated constituencies should be split up to largely reflect population.

    5. Consider representation based on percentage votes. It is an anomaly in our system of first-past-the-post that absolutely no consideration is given to the minority votes, which often form a huge proportion of total votes. Thus, often a 54% popular vote for instance can control more than two thirds of votes in Parliament, clearly an unfair situation not reflective of the situation on the ground. Perhaps the Senate should be reconstituted and its members allocated to various political parties according to proportion of popular votes garnered. That way, the Constitution cannot be changed willy-nilly when a government enjoys a small majority of popular votes.

    6. Require public accounting of all money spent on elections and their sources. Those who have access to money are better off at running election campaigns. Requiring an accounting of election expenses will ensure that all money channelled into elections are legal and accounted for, helping to prevent abuse. Requiring parties to disclose their sources of finance for elections keeps a check on how elections are financed and ensures transparency.

    7. Put a limit on the amount of money spent per seat. To level the playing field and to ensure that no candidate spends too much on elections, the amount of money spent per seat by a candidate should be limited. That way, no one will have an unfair advantage in terms of money used.

    8. Stop party hopping. The EC should lead the move to change the law to require a new election if an elected representative switches parties. This is fair because the candidate was elected under the banner of a particular party and should seek a new mandate if he changes parties mid-course. But that will depend on whether the necessary laws will be changed, and is not within the power of the EC.

    9. Have a minimum campaign period of at least one months. Two weeks or less is a pretty short period of time for nationally important issues to be aired, debated upon and finally decided by the public by a vote. But adopting our final point would avoid this problem and take the uncertainty out of elections in terms of time at least.

    10. Fix the election date well in advance. The removal of executive powers to call for elections at any time will remove considerable uncertainty and ensure that elections are held at reasonably certain times. Thus, the next elections will be held exactly five years after the last one if the elected government is not toppled by a vote of no confidence or some other move before that.

    As we can see, there is much that the Elections Commission still has to do before it goes to the rather dubious area of proxy voting. Most of these 10 measures are already in place in many countries around the world. And, yes, we do realise that the power to change the law is not with the EC but it can do its part by suggesting the changes.

    In the interest of democracy and the rights of the rakyat, it is high time we considered these reforms. A good time will be now.

    > Managing editor P. Gunasegaram is not at all optimistic that even a single one of these 10 reform measures will be adopted any time soon. .
    py

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