ANFREL observes Thai by-election, 9 August 2020

See more photos here: "By-Election in Samut Prakan, Thailand"

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) observed a by-election in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province on 9 August 2020. It was the second time a by-election took place in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, under the “new normal election” policy devised by the country’s authorities.

ANFREL Program Officer for Capacity Building and International Election Observation Amaël Vier discuss voting procedure to ANFREL interns during on-site election observation.

As in the first by-election in Lampang province last June, the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) placed precautionary measures in polling stations: polling staff wear face masks and face shields while voters are asked to weak face masks, sanitize their hands and observe social distancing.

The Supreme Court ordered a by-election in constituency 5 of Samut Prakan province after Krungsiwilai Suthinphuek from the Phalang Pracharath Party was yellow-carded for vote buying. An ECT inquiry found that in the lead-up to the 24 March 2019 general election, a close associate of Suthinphuek gave a wreath and 1,000 baht in an envelope to support a funeral in the constituency. ("Court orders by-election in Samut Prakan", 30 June 2020)

Voter casting his ballot.

According to news reports, the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) will retain a seat in the House of Representatives after Krungsiwilau Suthinphueak won the most voters who lost his seat after he was yellow-carded for vote-buying. He was not barred from running in the by-election. ("PPRP wins Samut Prakan by-election", 10 August 2020)

There are 351 polling stations in Samut Prakan Electoral District 5 for 172,662 eligible voters. The turnout was 58.20%. ("Candidate registration opens for Samut Prakan by-election", 16 July 2020)

Temperature checks are done prior to entering the polling station.

Polling staff wear face masks and some wear face shields for personal protection.

Voters observe social distancing inside the polling station. Voters also wear face masks.

After voting, voters are asked to sanitize their hands.

Elderly and PWD voters are given assistance in polling stations.

Diagrams are available in large format tarpaulins in every polling station which provide voters a step-by-step guide of the voting process.

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