11 July 2024

The Thai Embassy in New Zealand has claimed that the late arrival of over 1,500 ballots cast by overseas voters was beyond its control because they were dispatched by air cargo from Wellington on Monday March 18th.

Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) has ruled all 1,542 ballot sheets from New Zealand are null and void because they did not reach their designated constituencies in Thailand on time.  The ballot sheets arrived in Thailand on Sunday 24th, Election Day.

In a written statement, the embassy said it had spent about two months preparing for early voting in New Zealand. Advance voting was held between March 4th and 16th via a polling station at the embassy, by mail and at a mobile polling station.

Out of 1,862 eligible voters in New Zealand, 1,542 actually cast their ballots.  The ballot sheets were then sorted on March 17th and dispatched from Wellington by air cargo the next day. According to the schedule, the ballots from NZ were supposed to arrive in Thailand on March 18th, but the statement points out that, by then, delivery process was beyond the embassy’s control.

Due to an unexpected problem, which is under investigation by the EC, the ballots, in a diplomatic pouch, arrived in Thailand on Sunday.

The embassy expressed its regret for the late arrival of the ballot sheets, saying that it shared the disappointment of the voters in New Zealand.