The Union Election Commission plans to conduct a pilot project to improve lists of voters ahead of the 2015 general election, commission boss U Tin Aye said last week.

The pilot project will take place in Yangon’s Ahlone township, Chin State’s Tiddim township and Waingmaw township in Kachin State, although it remains unclear when it will get underway. Once the pilot is completed, the commission will then tackle electoral rolls nationwide.

The first data will be collected in August, U Tin Aye said, adding that he plans to ask civil society organisations for assistance.

“The commission can’t fix the electoral rolls on its own. We need civil society’s help as well,” he said on May 15 during a meeting with political parties in Yangon.

The pilot project is being conducted as part of the Election Strategic Master Plan drafted by the UEC with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

The overhaul will see electoral rolls stored electronically for the first time.

“We will collect data over an eight-month period and then keep the lists in a computerised system. If we want to change or update the list, we can do it easily with this system,” said commission member U Win Kyi.

A number of international groups have promised to provide technology and other support to computerise electoral rolls, he said.

The commission will then release the electoral roll as soon as it announces the election date.

As in previous elections, it would be voters’ responsibility to ensure their details are correct, he said.

“Commission has duty to keep the voter lists but people also have a duty to check whether their name is on the list. We hope we can solve this issue by releasing voter lists very early,” he said.

Electoral roll errors plagued both the 2010 general election and 2012 by-elections. While voter lists were posted in township offices, few people came to check their data. However, many complaints emerged on voting day when people came to polling stations but their names were not on the rolls.