Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First-time voters unable to cast ballots

First-time voters unable to cast ballots

First-time voters unable to cast ballots

Vandy Rattana

An election worker counts votes following Sunday's parliamentary polls

KAMPOT – First-time voters in Sunday’s election were barred from casting ballots at polling stations in Kampot province because their names were not on voter lists, according to election monitors. But observers and party activists are divided as to whether the omissions were due to deliberate manipulation or simple bureaucratic oversight.

Sam Ath, 24, skipped work to cast his vote at the Wat Kampot polling station in Andoung Khmer commune, only to be told that his name was not on any of the five voter lists.

“I feel sorry because I work far away from here, and I want to vote,” he said. “None of my friends had a problem.”

Another first-time voter, who wished to remain anonymous, traveled from Phnom Penh to vote at Kampong Krong Primary School in Kampong Kandal commune, but was confused when he couldn’t find his name on the list.

“The NEC sent an information letter, but only my brothers received it,” he told the Post, saying he thought he’d done everything he needed to vote.

“There are about 20 people at each polling station who are not on the lists,” said Ma Doll, a Comfrel voting monitor based in Kampot. “Some people have information papers but their names are not on the list. Others claim information papers never reached them.”

However, some voters and election monitors dismissed the concerns, claiming the vote was carried off smoothly compared with past years.

When asked about the absence of some names on the voter lists, In Thon, a commune election committee observer at Son Dakta Primary School in Kampong Kandal commune, said that it was “not a problem.”

“Four names were absent from the station’s voting lists,” In Thon said, but all were “found at another polling station nearby.”

CPP election observer Ouch Somang agreed that everything was above-board. “The election is much better than earlier ones. People know what they’re doing and there’s no more political pressure,” he said.

But Khin Krann, SRP secretary of Kampong Bay commune said voter disenfranchisement had been a major problem. “Many people didn’t get a vote,” he said.

Comfrel’s Ma Doll could not say whether this was the result of a deliberate policy to disenfranchise young voters or an unintentional error.

“This situation shows that it is a difficult issue for [voters] to use their right to choose the nation’s leader. I think it may affect their confidence in the election process,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon