Voter Population Increases By Over 200,000 In Kachin State

By Network Media Group
Friday, July 24, 2020

For the 2020 general election in Kachin State, there are almost a quarter of a million more voters than there was in 2015.

There are about 1,090,000 voters in Kachin State, compared to 870,000 who voted during the 2015 general election, says Tun Aung Khine, deputy head of Kachin State Election Commission. An increase of 220,000 eligible voters since the previous election.

But not everyone of the legal age to cast their ballot will be included when polling stations open on November 8. Some villages in areas controlled by armed groups will be left out, according to the Election Commission.

Kachin State is divided into four districts: Myitkyina, Bhamo, Mohnyin, and Puta-O. Parts of Moemauk, Shwegu and Mansi townships in Bhamo District, Chepwi and Sawtlor townships in Myitkyina District, and Puta-O and Machanbaw townships in Puta-O District will be excluded from the election.

Tun Aung Khine told NMG that it’s because election officials can’t reach them or the villages aren’t there anymore. He explained that some of the village-tracts were still included in the list provided by the Ministry of the Interior, even though they no longer exist after residents were displaced by the conflict. He estimates there are about 20 village-tracts where villagers have fled their homes from the fighting and haven’t returned.

Most of the locations that will be excluded are in areas controlled by ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), and there are about 70 village-tracts located in EAO controlled areas. “For security reasons, we can’t collect names for the voter list in these areas even though people are living there,” Tun Aung Khine says, estimating residents living in 194 villages won’t be able to cast their ballots in the coming election.

During the 2015 general election, there were 212 villages excluded from voting.