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Only One Army Polling Station for Kachin State

File photo: A military truck with Burmese soldiers at Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina.

In Kachin State, there will be only one army polling station, meaning most soldiers in the state will be voting at the same locations as regular civilians during the upcoming 2020 general election on November 8.

According to the Kachin State Election Commission (EC), there will be 53 polling stations in the state. Only one of these located in the remote northern Putao District is specifically for the national armed forces. Tun Aung Khine, chair of Kachin State EC, told KNG the army polling station would be built in Tat-thit ward, which is located in a civilian area.

This year enlisted men and women won’t be allowed to vote from their military barracks, as they were allowed to during the previous two races. The government won’t release the numbers of eligible voters who are soldiers. But Tun Aung Khine said all Burma Army soldiers in the state are registered for voting.

Doi Bu, who is the deputy chair for Kachin State People’s Party, told KNG she thinks it is good they have to cast their ballots off the army’s bases but wasn’t so sure about restrictions for campaigning on barracks. “I don’t know if they or we are losing our rights as citizens. Let the people decide.”

Nineteen political parties are competing during the general election in Kachin State. There are about 1.1 million voters.

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