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'Impossible' to trace ballots, Patriot tells voters in the force

Published:  |  Modified:

Army veterans group Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) has sought to reassure voters still in the force that their ballots are "secret" under current electoral practices.

Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji said the group had in recent weeks heard concerns from numerous individuals, especially those from the security forces, of the possibility of their ballot papers being traced.

"Our short answer to this is – No, it’s almost impossible to trace. Hence, your vote is a secret," Arshad said in a statement, noting that such enquiries from members of the security forces are a reflection of their political consciousness.

Arshad explained that while in the past it was theoretically possible to trace the ballot papers via its serial number, current electoral practices have made it impossible to do so.

"This is because, in the voting room, a first clerk reads out your name and IC number, and then crosses out your name.

"A second clerk paints your finger. A third clerk tears out a ballot paper, stamps it, and passes it to you," he said, adding that there was no cross-reference between the first and third clerk.

"The ballot papers are issued in the sequence of whoever comes first. Hence, there is no record of who receives which serialised ballot paper.

"Therefore your vote is your secret," he stressed.

Arshad further explained that while in the past it would be theoretically possible to trace the ballot papers through its serial number, any such attempt would have been a "messy and tedious" affair.

"Matching the serial numbers of the ballot papers and the counterfoils alone is not enough. The electoral register has to be matched too.

"This is assuming after one has gone through to sort out the thousands of ballot papers from among the numerous boxes in an electoral constituency," he said, adding that the process could only be carried out with a court order.

"Tampering with ballot papers in sealed boxes after the election is illegal, and the boxes will have to be kept for six months before their destruction.

"This duration of six months is for any eventuality of a legal challenge to the result," he further said.

As such, Arshad urged the chief of the armed forces and the inspector-general of police to similarly assure that all their personnel would be able to vote without fear or favour.

"Whatever the uncertain future, however the hardship, and the turbulent times ahead, members of the security forces and civilians share a common destiny.

"We are in need of capable and honest leaders to lead our nation forward to lead a united Malaysian people into the challenging times ahead," he added.

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