The National Election Committee (NEC) revealed examples of valid and invalid voting slips on July 16, in response to an opposition campaign that encourages supporters to intentionally void their ballots.

NEC deputy secretary general Som Sorida explained on the same day that the NEC offered illustrative examples of valid and void ballots to help voters accurately cast their votes.

The examples indicate how to properly mark the square box beside the logo of their chosen political party.

Sorida pointed out that two types of ballot papers could be deemed void.

The first category includes ballots not issued by the NEC.

The second category involves ballots with ticks for more than one political party or with no tick at all, or those rendered void by any superfluous written markings.

“We ask eligible voters on the voter registry to clearly mark their preferred party,” Sorida said.

Furthermore, he cautioned voters not to include any marks that might reveal their identity, such as writing numbers or anything else on the ballot paper.

“Voters must be careful when marking the paper for the party they love. They must avoid making more than two ticks on the ballot paper,” he added.

Sorida emphasised that damaged or dirty ballot papers would also be considered invalid.

He warned that voters intentionally spoiling their papers would face legal repercussions, as outlined in Article 142 of the election law.

Suos Yara, spokesperson for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, stated that the NEC’s focus should be on presenting valid ballot paper examples.

According to Yara, discussions regarding invalid papers should be restricted to internal exchanges and relevant stakeholders involved in election work.

Conversely, Sam Kuntheamy, president of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections (NICFE), argued that it was sensible for the NEC to display both valid and void ballot papers.

Such a strategy, Kuntheamy reasoned, would help voters understand better and ensure correct marking.

“If many voters intentionally spoil their ballot papers, it could influence the election result,” he warned.