By Burma Partnership
18 January 2011
"There was intimidation and forced voting. People in the villages also said they were given presents and money. The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) told voters to vote for them at the polling station. The uneducated people were convinced by the USDP. We also realized that the USDP had many advance votes. The USDP conducted a census of elderly people and counted them all as advance votes. I do not think significant changes will occur after the election. This is just to change the name [of the government]."
– A voter from Irrawaddy Division
Burma’s elections took place in a highly undemocratic and repressive environment governed by a countrywide entrenched climate of fear. This environment, coupled with a lack of voter secrecy, ensured that the regime and its allied parties were able to easily carry out electoral fraud on a widespread and systematic basis. Through the manipulation of advance votes, tampering of voter lists, vote buying, and illegal campaigning, the USDP was able to comfortably secure an overwhelming victory, despite the complete lack of genuine public support.