Election officials in some southern provinces expressed concern yesterday that the ongoing anti-government rally may affect the voter turnout for today's half-Senate poll, although some provinces expected a high turnout of up to 80 per cent in their constituencies.
Many eligible voters from the South are taking part in anti-government protests in Bangkok and are not expected to return home in time for voting.
Saneh Rakrong, election director of Trang, said local electoral officials had cut the estimated voter turnout to 70 per cent, down from 80 per cent. That was because many eligible voters are taking part in the rally in Bangkok.
The anti-government protesters, led by former veteran Democrat politician Suthep Thaugsuban, have moved their main rally site to Lumpini Park.
They held a mass march yesterday from the park to the Royal Plaza.
Election officials in the southern province of Surat Thani said they expected a turnout of no less than 50 per cent as a large number of eligible voters were taking part in the protest in Bangkok.
Local electoral authorities expressed a readiness to hold the half-Senate vote today and they expected no disruptions by protesters, unlike in the general election of February 2.
Pimprapai dichawong, election director in the northern province of Lamphun, expressed confidence that it would again achieve the highest voter turnout of all provinces of the country.
She estimated that at least 80 per cent of eligible voters would cast votes.
Election officials in other provinces gave estimates of between 60-70 per cent.
Many provinces expected the vote count to be completed by 6pm and unofficial vote results by 8pm. Voting is open from 8am to 3pm.