Election Commission refuses to recount votes despite polling irregularities

The Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) has refused to recount ballots after the August 7 draft charter referendum despite reports of various polling irregularities. The ECT said that a recount would not change the results anyway.
 
 
On Wednesday, 10 August 2016, the official results of the referendum were announced by Suphachai Somcharoen, Chair of the ECT, together with Commissioners Boonsong Noisophon, Pravich Rattanapian and Somchai Srisuthiyakorn.     
 
According to Matichon Online, Suphachai stated that 29,740,677 voters from a total of 50,071,589 eligible voters went to vote last Sunday—almost 60 per cent. On the referendum’s first question asking voters whether they accepted the draft charter, 16,820,420 voters, or more than 60 per cent, selected ‘yes.’ 
 
On the additional question asking whether voters approved of a junta-appointed senate voting jointly with the House of Representatives to select the Prime Minister, Suphachai said that 15,132,050 voters, or almost 60 per cent, also voted in favour. 
 
In response to reports on polling irregularities, Somchai said that the ECT would not conduct any recounts since, according to the Referendum Act, voters have to file complaints to the ECT within 24 hours after the polls close. The ECT stated it has not received any complaints and added that a recount would not change the result anyway. 
 
Somchai said that the five provinces with the highest voter turnouts were Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Tak and Chiang Rai with percentages of 76.47, 74.36, 73.17, 70.06, and 67.64 respectively. 
 
According to Somchai, 936,209 ballots, or 3.15 per cent, were spoiled. He regarded this as an acceptable number given there were two questions on each ballot. The three provinces that received the most spoiled ballots were all found in the Deep South. The provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala had percentages of spoiled ballots of 7.43, 7.11 and 6.54 respectively.