Wednesday February 13, 2013

Voters will no longer use pencils to mark ballot papers during general election


PETALING JAYA: For the first time in Malaysian electoral history, voters will be using ballpoint pens instead of pencils to mark the ballot papers.

Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said this was part of the initiative to improve the electoral process and remove unnecessary doubts.

“Critics had in the past claimed that pencil marks could be erased.

“Now that we will be using pen, no one can make such wild allegations any more,” he said.

Wan Ahmad said there would be 25,000 voting streams, each with two ballot boxes where pens would be provided.

The EC had bought about 50,000 extra pens in case some of them ran out of ink or became faulty.

Other measures taken to improve the electoral process include using indelible ink to prevent multiple voting, according media personnel postal voter status, allowing physically challenged individuals to be accompanied by a person trusted by them to cast their vote, doing away with objection on nomination day and disallowing candidates to pull out.

Other changes include allowing police, military and their spouses to vote early, increasing the display time of additional electoral roll from seven to 14 days and allowing candidates' agents access to monitor polling stations.

The Election Commission has also appointed 16 NGOs to serve as observers during the election.

The EC has also allowed Malaysians residing abroad to register as postal voters as long as they were registered as voters and had been in Malaysia for not less than 30 days within the last five years before the dissolution of Parliament.

Exception is made for those staying in southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.

Prior to this, only full-time students and government servants and their spouses abroad were allowed to register as postal voters.
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