The big push for a higher voter turnout is picking up steam as political parties and NGOs join forces to do their bit as the first week of campaigning nears its close.
A low voter turnout has been anticipated for the upcoming election due to a mix of political apathy, high travel costs for outstation voters and unreliability of the postal voting process.
Election analyst Dr G Manimaran said the voter turnout for the Nov 19 polls is expected to be between 70 percent and 75 percent.
Voter turnout could be further dented in the event of floods or sudden spikes in Covid-19 cases, he said.
There are currently more than 21 million people in the electoral roll but every election, about four million people would skip going to the polls, he said.
“Another 10 percent of voters in the electoral roll will also need to be counted out for various reasons.
“This means that in the end, voter turnout is expected to be around 70 percent to 75 percent of the electoral roll,” he said.
Dr Manimaran added that despite the automatic voter registration making everyone aged 18 and above eligible to vote, this does not mean that everyone would be casting their ballots. To increase voter turnout, Dr Manimaran said hurdles faced by overseas voters must also be removed.
Malaysians living overseas must wait for the Election Commission (EC) to print out ballots after nomination day, which was Nov 5, and for their ballots to arrive by mail to their address.
“Two weeks is not enough. There will be cases where the ballot papers will reach after the polling closing period,” said Dr Manimaran.
He suggested that the EC extend the accepting period to enable ballot papers that come in late to still be counted.
This was a practice in the United States, he said.
“There’s a trend in the last election where there was a slim majority in many places so they should count every vote as every vote has a value,” he said.
Politicians are coming out to appeal to Malaysians to come out and vote on polling day, with TikTok being a popular medium this time around.
Among those who posted clips on the app on the importance of voting are MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong, who is contesting for the Tebrau parliamentary seat, PKR’s Permatang Pauh candidate Nurul Izzah Anwar and Muda president Syed Saddiq, who is defending his Muar seat.