Bang Phlat voters protest at district office, demand recount

A crowd of voters gathered at the Bang Phlat District Office at around 3.00 on 15 May to demand a vote recount after complaints that some vote counting was being done behind closed doors and that district officials did not allow observers.

Upon learning that ballots from Bang Phlat were sent to the Bangkok Noi District Office, a crowd formed there to demand that officials disclose election result from polling stations in Bang Phlat

Since around 22.00 on Sunday night (14 May), voters in Bang Phlat District, in Bangkok’s 33rd constituency, took to social media to complain that district officials were not counting votes in front of observers and only displayed a document with the final vote count. When voters demanded a recount, the officials refused and said that they have to file a request with the Election Commission to do so.

Voters also said that officials at some polling stations were not allowing observers to record the vote counting, and that district officials immediately put the ballot boxes away without displaying the final vote count in the district.

Some voters learned that the ballots were sent to the Bangkok Noi District Office, also in the 33rd constituency. A large crowd then formed there at around 1.30 to demand that the district officials disclose the election result from polling stations in Bang Phlat, because they noticed a sudden increase in votes for one of the candidates and that there were over 1000 invalid ballots.

Pongpun Yodmuangcharoen, Move Forward Party MP candidate for Bangkok Noi and Bang Phlat, came to the Bangkok Noi District Office and attempted to facilitate the discussion between voters and district officials. He asked that the Bang Phlat District Officer come to the scene to explain the issues to voters.

A crowd gathered at the Bang Phlat District Office

At around 3.00, the crowd moved to the Bang Phlat District Office, where District Office Director Areeya Pengprasert spoke to the crowd. However, voters were still not satisfied because Areeya merely told them that vote counting is done only at the Bangkok Noi District Office, since early and overseas voting ballots were sent there.

At around 4.30, following a discussion with other officials, the District Office Director said that no vote counting was done at the Bang Phlat District Office, and that the final vote count had not been announced because it has to be announced by the Bangkok Noi District Office, which is responsible for the 33rd constituency. Ballot boxes were sent to the Bangkok Noi District Office, where the final vote count was displayed. Documents containing the final vote count were also displayed at the respective polling stations.  

She also said that because the final vote count documents had already been sent to Bangkok Noi and are displayed at polling stations, the Bang Phlat District Office cannot present them, but she will ask the Bangkok Noi District Office to send photocopies.

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt came to the Bang Phlat District Office at around 4.30. He said he will try to have the final vote count forms displayed as soon as possible.

He said that there are 3 copies of the 5/18 form, which contains the final vote count from each constituency; one is displayed in front of each polling station, one is put inside the ballot box, and one is sent to the Bangkok Noi District Office. No forms are kept at the Bang Phlat District Office. He said that they have already contacted the Bangkok Noi District Office and asked them to send over copies of the document. He also said that, if there are any missing ballot boxes, voters can notify the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

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