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Voter registration test delayed

A voter registration system test originally slated for October will instead occur in November, the National Election Committee (NEC) announced in a press release on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the test will be carried out in 25 cities across the country, from November 1 to 15, in anticipation of the new system’s expected launch next year.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said “we had to postpone to November 1 because of material preparations, and we still have to finish training the staff”.

Hang also mentioned a delay in funding from Japanese and EU partners but assured “they understand the process”.

Speaking yesterday, Koul Panha, executive director of the election monitoring NGO Comfrel, said the NEC needs “time to correct the system”, but that “one month late is not a severe concern, but still a concern”.

“We hope [the NEC] will be able to conduct the official voter registration early in 2016 . .. by March or April,” he said.

Keeping in mind there are now “over 10 million” eligible voters, Panha said “the government must be ready to announce the commune elections for 2017”, for which a precise date has not yet been set.

Part of the modernisation of voter registration includes issuing new micro-chipped voter ID cards, of which only an estimated 3 to 4 million have so far been issued.

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