The National Election Committee wrapped up a training seminar for voter registration on Tuesday ahead of the September 1 to October 12 registration period, but attendees doubt if any real benefit was gleaned from the one-and-a-half day exercise.
“Having training is helpful, but calling the provincial election committees to attend for just one day is not going to be good enough to help voter education,” said Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia co-ordinator Sam Kunteamy yesterday.
“I don’t think this will make a difference to any voter registration irregularities,” Kunteamy said.
NEC training department director Mom Soth said the training course was well attended by 139 election secretariat members, political parties and NGOs and that the brevity did not undermine its quality.
“Besides, one more training course will be opened on August 25 in each of the province cities and anyway, we have educational materials for the public. We have posters on conditions of voter registration and leaflets,” Soth highlighted.
Monitoring groups slammed last year’s commune election for myriad voter registration irregularities including double registrations, underage registrations and missing registrations.
According to the NEC, last year there were 9,203,493 voters on the voter list.
Koul Panha, executive director of election monitor Comfrel said the training sessions were merely regurgitation of old material.
“The sessions need to focus on what the misunderstandings are,” Panha said.
“For example, the procedure of having a person physically present to register them rather than just read some documents and registering that name,” he cited.
“This would happen if there was more discussion between parties and the NEC about how to improve the quality of voter registration.”
State media reported NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha as saying there are over 600,000 youths who have reached the legal voting age who are not yet registered to vote.