Monday, May 06, 2013

My take on the General Election 13 Counting Process.

While everybody still emotionally charged calling foul of the SPR ballot counting process, I would like to make clear to those who are unaware of the GE13 ballot counting process. I do not speak for SPR or anyone - below are the opinions of my own.

Too many wrong information and rumors being shared around and it makes us look like sore losers. Worse, some takes matters in their own hands up to the point of attacking EC officers who are just carrying out their duties. Then what makes us different from the BN macai's?

I too, was sorely disappointed with the results.

While I am not sure how the postal vote counting process are done, the claims of magical ballot box appears during blackouts are very difficult to prove.

Compared to GE12, I would like to say that SPR did try to close loopholes in ballot counting process - though not all of it.

I am one of the Polling Agent (PA) and Counting Agent (CA) and this is my experience. And the counting process goes like this.

1. At 5 p.m., the Ketua Tempat Mengundi (KTM) will close the door, no more voters are allowed to go in and vote. He will then seal both the ballot boxes, both DUN and Parliament, tied it securely with cloth strings and further secure the strings with a sticker. He will then sign on this sticker and the PA will sign on the sticker as well. At this point, the CA takes over. Alternatively, the PA can be the CA himself.

2. Then, they will rearrange the room for the counting process. This takes about 30 mins. CA are allowed in the room throughout the process.

3. Then the ballot counting begins, until the end of the results. Depending on the stream, we can get the results by 8pm by tallying our votes with other CA.

So the issue of magical ballot box appearing does not make sense to me. There were only two boxes in the room at all times. Claims of ballot boxes being intercepted to the tallying stations are complete hoax. We count the vote in the classroom itself.

But why the results announcement took so long? Why there were disputes in some other polling stations?

My opinion is that -

1. We do not have enough PA and CA. DAP in Negeri Sembilan and Penang has the fastest results (we knew DAP won all the seats in N9 by 8pm by tallying our results at the DAP center) because we have plenty on PA/CA on team. I hear that some other states has trouble getting volunteers so probably problem does arises from there.

2. PA and CA are not properly trained or not aware of their rights. After the counting completed and CA of all candidates satisfied, they are asked to sign a form called BORANG 14. Each CA are supposed to be given a copy of the BORANG 14. This form is the proof of the total figure of the ballot counted for the stream. CA are supposed to request for a copy of the form and stand up and protest for it should the KTM refused to do so. Without the Borang 14, results can be altered and nobody can prove it.

Contrary to popular belief, there were no recounting votes at the tallying center. All counting and recount are done at the polling stations and results are recorded on the Borang 14.

CA are also supposed to be present to witness the resealing of the votes in their respective envelopes after counting and sign on them. Many CA were not aware of this as well.

Why then the unofficial results differ so much from the official ones? In my humble opinion - rumors. In the height of ones emotional excitement, any rumors that favors them are taken as official tally. Some streams do take longer time to count the votes. Disputes over procedures between an inexperienced KTM (hey, they only do this once every 5 years!) and CA could further lengthen the counting process.

So what can we do? In the next GE, everyone should volunteer to be a Polling Agent or Counting Agent. Get yourself trained. Read up the SPR procedures. Aware of your rights. This way we could minimize future election fraud.

I also would like to highlight that the KTM and the SPR team at my stream is extremely cooperative and professional at all times. It was a pleasant experience working with them. Being a PACA opened my eyes to many facets of the election process that the general public does not know of.

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