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NEC allows NGO to audit 2020 voter list

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A man looks for his name on a voter list for the election in Phnom Penh. NEC

NEC allows NGO to audit 2020 voter list

The National Election Committee (NEC) has decided to allow the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) to continue auditing the 2020 voter list to help improve its quality and accuracy. The results of this process will be posted on December 31.

NEC deputy secretary-general Som Sorida told The Post on December 13 that the NEC authorised COMFREL to audit this year’s voter list as a collaboration to ensure that the work that the NEC has done is accurate and correct.

Sorida said COMFREL is a professional organisation that had spotted some irregularities in the past, such as cases of duplicate names, use of improper documents or a lack of proof of Khmer nationality required for voter registration.

“[COMFREL] has helped the NEC by finding these problems and the NEC will edit the voter list based on its report. However, COMFREL still acknowledges that the NEC’s voter list is over 90 per cent accurate before the audit,” he said.

Senior COMFREL official Korn Savang said on December 13 that his organisation regularly audits the NEC’s voter list each year to ensure that it is fully complete, accurate and up-to-date. But he said some communes or districts seem not to understand the role COMFREL plays in this process, so he asks the NEC to facilitate.

“What we are doing with the NEC is related to the quality of the voter list and checking whether the names on this list are real or duplicate and determining if there are ghost names on the list. This year, COMFREL can only do this for 10 provinces, as it depends on the resources available. For cases of name duplication or irregular documents, we will study the final list compiled by the NEC,” he said.

Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan welcomed COMFREL’s audit of this year’s voter list, saying it was a good idea to make the voter list more accurate as the NEC is in favour of transparency because this gives people confidence in the outcome of the elections.

Eysan urged COMFREL to publicise its finding after the audit.

“If COMFREL wants transparency, it should check to see if the list is fraudulent or not. They should be clear about that and not just say that an entry is without evidence or documents.

“If it’s not correct and they have clearly checked and confirmed that it is incorrect then there should be a statement or information given to the media to publish. Then it would be fully transparent,” he said.

According to a press release issued by the NEC on December 11, COMFREL on November 6 requested the preliminary voter list from the NEC for 2020 in order to facilitate cooperation at the sub-national level to conduct the 2020 voter list audit. For this audit, COMFREL will conduct operations between December 2020 and January 2021.

The press release added that last year COMFREL audited the 2019 NEC voter list and evaluated that the list was up to 99.7 per cent accurate, with COMFREL having found only 44 duplicate names. The NEC has already resolved the duplicate names in each of those cases.

The NEC on December 10 also completed the resolution of complaints related to the 2020 voter list received from representatives of political parties, communes and individuals. But there are some additional complaints from the representatives of political parties who are dissatisfied with the NEC decision and who have therefore appealed to the Constitutional Council.

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