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NEC discovers duplicate names in voter registration lists

An official records a resident’s details for electronic voter registration in Phnom Penh in September.
An official records a resident’s details for electronic voter registration in Phnom Penh in September. Heng Chivoan

NEC discovers duplicate names in voter registration lists

With the final weeks of the national voter registration drive approaching, the National Election Committee has identified 19,000 duplicate names on new digital lists, though 80 percent of the doubles stem from data sent multiple times by officials with poor internet connections, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said yesterday.

Speaking by phone, Puthea said the figure may also include people who had registered twice in different provinces, which would leave them open to fines under the new Cambodian Election Law, but added that slow internet speeds were the “biggest factor” behind the problem.

“In some communes, where the internet is slow, they press two or three times, so the data was sent two or three times,” Puthea said.

However, after revealing the figure, Puthea, moved to reassure stakeholders that finding duplicates at this stage was “normal” and the NEC could easily purge the list.

“We verify it by computers and by more than 50 data-verification officers,” Puthea said.

“If we couldn’t find the duplicated name, we should only worry then. We will note them down and publish the list [of duplicates] alongside the preliminary list to show they’ve been eliminated.”

Puthea also said the NEC would move to correct 369 people who, after being registered, were assigned to the wrong voting stations. According to Article 144 of the Election Law, people who intentionally register more than once can face fines of $2.50 to $25.

With less than three weeks to go for registration, the NEC has seen a significant drop-off in enrollments. As of Monday, 6.9 million of Cambodia’s estimated 9.6 million eligible voters have registered.

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