Big Questions on Voting Day

By Julian Dierkes

The run-off in the 2017 presidential contest is upon us.

Since June 26 there has been no campaigning, but a number of developments with a likely impact on the run-off result have occurred.

1. White Ballot Movement

Some voters have organized online to educate other on the possibility of turning in a blank ballot to prevent a majority winner and thus force a re-set of the entire election. The biggest question today might thus be how many people will actually choose the non-of-the-above option. Has this campaign reached many voters? Will they shy away from the implied costs of re-running the election entirely? Will protest voters go to the blank ballot rather to one of the candidates?

2. Between Two Campaigns, Enkhbold Likely to Have Lost Ground

With no campaigning, other factors might play a role in voters’ thinking. The surfacing of video material showing Enkhbold practicing for the debate will not have improved his standing. The parliamentary machinations to produce massive cash handouts look like desperation in part because they will almost certainly incite the anger of the IMF. Voters seemed to see through the DP’s last-minute Erdenet Mine announcement last year, I suspect that they will not be swayed by the announcements of the last several days.

By contrast, it has been fairly quiet around Battulga.

3. More Discussions of Vote-Buying, Electoral Procedures

As has been the case for all six elections that I have paid close attention to, in the aftermath of the count, allegations of fraud are flying all over the place.

Hand (re)counts have borne out results.

Much discussion has focused on vote-buying (including my own perspective). But talk of the buying up of voting receipts seems to be a bluff of “enforcement” rather than an actual threat of tracing ballots or voters. Voting systems are obviously designed primarily around assuring voting secrecy so the safe-guards against the possibility of tracing a vote by the receipt or ballot number, or the time stamp are extensive. Voters might not retain their receipts in this round just to combat the perception of some kind of traceability. Unfortunately, this also precludes the “I voted!” photos that some Mongolians have been posting.



About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots and tweets @jdierkes
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