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Casting your vote – a memo

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A volunteer gives us a quick run-down of the dos and don’ts at the polling centre.

I have just completed my training to be a Polling Agent/Counting Agent/Barung Agent for this 13th general election to be held on 5 May 2013.

Check where you will be voting at http://daftarj.spr.gov.my/semakpru13.aspx. I am writing this because of the many things you must be aware of before you go to the polling centre. I’ll try my best to list them down here.

1. Be at the polling centre real early, as I am suspecting that there may be a long queue due to the new polling process.

Many will be sick of waiting and might waste their vote.

You only have to do this once every five years. Don’t give up your right.

Polling centre opens from 8.00am till 5.00pm. If the queue is long, hang in there, do not leave even after 5.00pm once you have entered. Stay inside the school premises.

Polling centre gate closes at 5:00pm sharp. Polling continues till all in the queue are done, regardless of time.

2. Check on-line first and print out your details before going to the voting centre.

You may be able to by-pass the barung counter since you have a printout and know where to go and thus shorten your time.

3. Bring your IC.

If you have lost your IC, then use the temporary IC.

If you have also lost your temporary IC, then you can use your passport. Avoid using passport as we the counting agents will insist that you fill up a Borang 11, which will take time and affect the queue. This time the EC allows even Government employee tags … polling agents will seek verification if we see anyone using that.

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4. Make sure your left-hand index finger is clean, because any marks or stains will result in you being disallowed from voting.

If you have band-aid plaster on that finger, they will require you to use the right hand index instead. The default is left-hand index finger. No stains allowed on either fingers. The polling clerk will mark your left index finger with ink.

Hold the ballot paper with your hand; blow your ink finger dry. (God gave us a mouth and a pair of lungs.)

5. Important! The ink will take about 30 seconds to dry. Bring along a tissue to dry your finger before holding your ballot papers. Any smudge or stain on the ballot paper will render it a spoilt vote.

So be extremely careful. Now you should understand why you need to be there early.

6. Your ballot paper will have a serial number, but it must be clean from any extra marks or words or stains, smudges, pencil/pen marks or dots or tear of the surface of ballot papers.

You can reject the ballot paper and insist on a new one if you see any of these. Do not be intimidated by anyone there as this is your ABSOLUTE RIGHT.

7. Ensure that the clerk that handed you the ballot paper does not write the serial number of your ballot papers next to your name on the list.

He or she is supposed to just neatly cross out your name on the list. If you see that she wrote something, please raise hell. Make sure she crosses out your name on her list and we will do the same on ours.

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8. If in some strange (may happen) event you were told that you have already voted, even though you have not, and your fingers have no marks, you MUST raise hell.

We the polling agents will raise hell too. It means that somebody has voted on your behalf. You will be required to fill forms, etc.

Remember your constitutional right to vote.

9. Do not wear any T-shirt or buttons or hat that is aligned with any of the political parties.

You will be asked to remove it or be disallowed from entering the polling centre.

10. When casting your vote, be careful not to make any other marks on the ballot paper.

You will be using a pen instead of the usual pencil. So if you make a mistake and it is accidental, please request a new ballot paper. They have 10 per cent extra paper to cater for this.

11. Fold the ballot paper neatly in half, checking to see that all is in order before proceeding to the ballot boxes.

Here, we will have two ballot boxes for Parliament and State.

12. At the ballot boxes, SHOW and put the ballot paper into its corresponding box. Stand there to ensure that the clerk pushes your vote into the box.

Please do not have any tissue or other kinds of paper in your hands as you may be stopped for a search by the polling agent. We are trained to look out for people who bring out their blank voting papers to sell. Don’t do that, you’ll go to jail.

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I am not aware of any special lane for the disabled or elderly.

Please do read again what I have written and feel free to forward to all your friends, and make sure that everyone goes to vote. Every vote counts. This election is most crucial.

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