Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Digital voter registry hits snags

Digital voter registry hits snags

People search a registration list for their names in Prey Veng province
People search a registration list for their names in Prey Veng province in 2013 during the national elections. A new computerised voter registration system has started trials in a select number of locations. Vireak Mai

Digital voter registry hits snags

Pilot tests for Cambodia’s new computerised voter registration system are off to a rough start after one commune refused yesterday to participate in the trials.

The $17 million system, which uses computers to record voters’ thumbprints and photos, and issues voter card printouts, was slated to undergo informal assessments in one selected commune each in Ratanakkiri, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang and Phnom Penh between Friday and January 29.

Officials from Kampong Cham’s Srak commune, one of the chosen localities, however, said they are unable to participate due to a lack of personnel with technical experience.

“We cannot help them,” said Srak commune chief Seang Chet. “They are asking me to find people who can type names and addresses on a computer, but I don’t have the staff who can do that and assist them.”

Developed by the Electoral Reform Alliance and election watchdog Comfrel, the new system seeks to eliminate electoral irregularities and ensure accuracy by replacing the current pen-and-paper registry after 1.2 million eligible voters were found deleted in the last election’s roster – a major omission that the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party said led to its loss in 2013.

“I’m not sure if they are clear on how this could benefit them,” Comfrel executive director Koul Panha said. “We are going back there again [today] to meet with them, because we can’t do it by ourselves; we need their cooperation.”

According to Panha, 50 villagers are needed to operate the system during the test, which lasts for six to seven days.

The pilot has been under way in Ratanakkiri’s Pakte commune since January 9, and it is scheduled for Kampong Chhnang’s Trapaing Chan commune on January 18. A date for Phnom Penh hasn’t been finalised just yet.

“It’s going quite well, and the locals are quick learners … but it’s not perfect yet,” said Panha, adding that they aim to have volunteers spend an average of seven minutes processing each voter.

Srak commune chief Chet said he supports the initiative but unfortunately, his hands are tied.

“I agree that this new computerised system is good and maybe we can give them a place to do the test, but I just don’t have any people who can help,” Chet said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.