As Malaysia's 14th General Election (GE14) draws closer, there has been a surge of information about the public voting process
Parties can begin campaigning after nomination day for candidates, which will be held on 28 April. Malaysian voters will then go to the polls to choose their government on 9 May, a date which has been declared a public holiday.
As talks about election heightens ahead of polling day, there is apparently confusion among voters on the procedures of voting, particularly about the right method to cast the ballot as permitted by the Election Commission (EC).
BERSIH 2.0 said that the influx of messages on social media, whether intentional or unintentional, have led to false information and misinformation.
The BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee has since outlined several steps that voters need to know in order to ensure that their votes are safe
The electoral watchdog said in a press statement issued yesterday, 17 April, that voters need to know the following procedures that will take place on polling day:
1. Make sure to bring your identity card (IC) to the polling station. Although carrying your voter record is not necessary, it could come in handy to bring a copy which can be obtained from the EC's website.
2. Once you enter the polling station, the first clerk will call out your name and IC number and strike your name off the electoral roll.
3. The second clerk will mark your finger with indelible ink.
Take note that voters in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan, and Sarawak, will only receive one ballot paper for their Member of Parliament as there are no local council elections for Federal Territories and Sarawak has already conducted its state elections in 2016.
The ballots received must be unmarked except for the stamp and serial number on the respective ballot papers. The serial number on the ballot paper is necessary to indicate how many ballot papers have been issued. Your vote is still a secret as the serial number of ballot paper cannot be noted down by any party to tally with the serial number on the electoral roll.
5. To cast your ballot, you only need to mark your ballot to indicate your choice of candidate with an 'X'.
BERSIH recommends marking with the common 'X' although it is not the only mark that can be constituted as a valid vote.
In the last election, the EC reportedly said that other marks besides the 'X' are also accepted as long as it is made within a chosen candidate's column.
6. Fold your ballot paper and drop it into the ballot box.
7. If you believe you have made a mistake in marking your ballot, you may request a replacement ballot from the EC officer in charge of your stream (saluran).
Elaborating further on the acceptable ways of marking a ballot paper, BERSIH said that they found that there are up to 39 valid methods which are recognised by the EC
According to BERSIH 2.0 steering committee member Mandeep Singh, there are more than 30 ways to mark a ballot paper that will constitute as proper voting and counted as a valid vote, as per the EC's guideline.
However, the information is not as accessible to the public.
"The information isn’t available on their website. We only got this when we attended the PACA (polling and counting agents) training at the EC.
"Only those who attended the training by EC have this information," said Mandeep, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
The EC's voting guide is now available for public viewing after it was uploaded to BERSIH's official website.
Read all the latest GE14 stories on SAYS: