General News - Monday December 17, 2007
Early voters ill-informed on candidates
Ayutthaya _ Voters from the Northeast working in this central province flocked to cast ballots in Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya district yesterday, but many said they had only limited information about the candidates they voted for.
Many voters, who had registered to go to the polls a week early instead of having to travel long distances to their hometowns to vote next weekend, said their decisions were mainly influenced by relatives at home or political canvassers.
Voters are normally required to cast their ballots in their home constituencies but those that registered beforehand were allowed to vote from afar in advance polling that took place over the weekend.
Only a few voters in Ayutthaya interviewed by the Bangkok Post said they were familiar with the names of the candidates. Most admitted they had no idea who the people they were voting for were.
Sakda Joong-jai, a 27-year-old factory worker from Nakhon Ratchasima, said he been working in Ayutthaya for three years and did not know the candidates running in his home constituency. He had to ask friends and family back home for advice on who to vote for, he said.
Preecha Kotsri, 39, also from Nakhon Ratchasima, who has been living and working in Ayutthaya since 2002, said it was hard to make a decision as he did not know any of the candidates. He, like many others, called his family in the Northeast to ask for advice.
A man in his 50s from Si Sa Ket said he too was unfamiliar with the parliamentary candidates running in his home province, and followed the advice of local political canvassers.
Most of the advance voters said, however, that they were not confused by the voting process, which has two separate ballots and different numbers for proportional representation and constituency candidates.
Poll officials provided a lot of useful advice, many said.
Over 50,000 people registered for advance voting in Ayutthaya.
Most of those that registered for advance voting are from the Northeast and moved here to find work in the large number of factories.