Bersih: Why limit access to draft electoral roll?

Bersih-2.0PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 wants to know why the Election Commission (EC) is forbidding the distribution of both hard and soft copies of draft supplementary electoral roll to political parties.

Noting that pdf copies of the roll used to be given to political parties for free, Bersih said now they could not even be bought, whether in print or on CD.

“The move effectively prevents any review of the electoral roll before it is gazetted as it is impossible to thoroughly review and investigate the roll  when they are only available to view in hard copy at the EC and local council offices, at limited office hour times.

“Why is the EC making it more difficult for the relevant parties to have access to the roll, especially with the general election approaching?” it said in a statement today.

Hitting out at the directive, issued on March 28 and enforced by EC secretary Abdul Ghani Salleh, Bersih said the avenue to fight for a clean electoral roll was now even smaller.

Once a roll was gazetted, it said, Section 9A of the Elections Act prevented any challenge to its integrity.

It questioned the “highly suspicious” timing of the move, noting that it came after concerns were raised over the illegal shifting of voters in the quarter 3 and quarter 4 2016 supplementary electoral roll.

“By limiting access to the draft roll, the EC appears to be less interested in facilitating the checks and balances of a transparent and clean roll, but enabling electoral fraud by not stopping phantom voters at the door.

“Is that the message the EC wants to send out?”