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National Election Committee voter registration passes halfway mark

Locals line up to register to vote in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune last month.
Locals line up to register to vote in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune last month. Heng Chivoan

National Election Committee voter registration passes halfway mark

More than half of Cambodia’s 9.6 million eligible voters had been registered as of Saturday, despite the National Election Committee reporting that heavy rains had dampened the pace of registrations recently.

Updated figures released on the weekend show that 4.9 million voters had registered in the 36 days since the three-month registration period began on September 1.

While Svay Rieng, Ratanakkiri and Pursat had registered nearly 60 percent of voters, Battambang and Pursat, meanwhile, had registered just 40 percent.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said that heavy rains had slowed registration in some provinces, but that the bigger concern was with migrant workers.

“We are worried about people abroad, where we think that the percentage [of registrations] is low and that [citizens] are not participating as much,” he said.

Prior to the opening of registration, the NEC received requests to set up voter registration booths for migrant workers, which were turned down. While people can register outside their home province, they need a local witness to vouch for their residence.

Var Thorn, deputy provincial governor for Kratie, said the low registration turnout in his province – 39 percent – was because farmers were busy harvesting or planting crops and said that authorities were visiting them to get them to register.

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