The Irrawaddy Burma Election 2010

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Junta Collects Voter Lists

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The Burmese junta canvasses Rangoon and Irrawaddy Division to collect the name and location of potential voters prior to the election.

The Burmese junta is canvassing Rangoon and Irrawaddy Division and collecting registered lists of family members to ensure it has the name and location of potential voters prior to the election.

Sources told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that since last month the junta authorities have scoured townships in those divisions and registered each family member.

“The authorities visit one house after another, identifying the number of family members for the family registration document. The Rangoon Division of the State Peace and Development Council has instructed the ward council to do that,” said a member of the United Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) living in Ahlone township, Rangoon Division.

“Lists of family members are currently being collected in 20 Rangoon townships,” he said.

According to sources close to the authorities, the government wants to know the specific number of residents living in each township for the upcoming election, and there is pressure on the families to comply.

“We have to go to the ward council to have a family photo taken for the family registration. It's not easy to organize all the family members to gather in one place for the registration and photo, but it could be a problem if the authorities check the family at home and see family members that were not in the photo,” said a Rangoon resident.

These concerns may not be avoidable, however, because for persons who travel or live away from the family home, it may not be possible to be photographed and included in the registration list.

The authorities are trying to track down itinerant individuals and families as well.

“The authorities urgently need to register the families that have moved to a new area. They need to know the specific number of residents living in each location for the election,” said an official from Rangoon Division general administrative department.

The government conducted a similar registration push just before the 2008 referendum on the  constitution, and the way the lists were used may foreshadow the way the announced election will be conducted.

“The authorities collected family registration lists during the last week of April, 2008. We didn't have to vote during the referendum. The authorities from the ward council just used the list of family members to vote for us,” said a resident of Labutta township, Irrawaddy Division.

Nayee Lin Let contributed to this article.



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