Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voter numbers appear overestimated

Voter numbers appear overestimated

Voter numbers appear overestimated

THEY are still calling it a success, but election workers warn that the figure of

98% of potential voters registered may have to be adjusted downwards to about 92%.

As the National Election Committee's (NEC) computer center logs registration information

into its data bank and workers deal with parties' and individuals' complaints, they

have discovered that their earlier totals may be off.

"What happened in some instances is that when registration officials gave us

the numbers, they looked at the beginning serial number [of their allotted registration

cards] and their ending serial number and gave us the difference," one foreign

election worker explained. "In effect, there would be a small amount of canceled

cards in the middle."

Election technicians have estimated that the true figure may be 92%, which they still

point out as quite an impressive turnout.

Pan Sorasak, head of the NEC computer center, said his people are finding about two

or three cancellations in each booklet of 50 registration cards. However, he declined

to estimate a final figure.

"Right now the best thing I can say is that we will have to change [the figure],

but we don't really know how much," Sorasak said.

And if nationalist opposition parties have their way, as many as 10,000 registered

voters will also be removed from the voter rolls because they are suspected of being

Vietnamese.

The NEC member in charge of the election body's legal office, Tip Jahnvibol, said

Funcinpec has registered 6,000 individual complaints of Vietnamese illegally registering

and the Sam Rainsy Party and Son Sann Party have sent in 600 each, with other parties

making up the remainder.

Jahnvibol said that although the Vietnamese issue is clogging up the NEC's complaints

system, the election body must deal with each complaint case-by-case.

"For us in the NEC, this is not a racial issue, but an issue of the legitimacy

of the electoral process," he said.

Not only are opposition parties concerned that ethnic Vietnamese voters will choose

the CPP over themselves, but also that illegal aliens may gain citizenship through

the issuance of a registration card, Jahnvibol said.

The NEC has held numerous hearings since registration ended on June 15 and held complainants

to a strict set of guidelines in successfully filing their complaints.

But once the complaint checks out enough to call suspected illegal voters to give

their own testimony, Jahnvibol said they have invariably failed to travel to Phnom

Penh to defend themselves. Without a defense, the suspects are considered illegal

and their registration cards are canceled.

The NEC notifies suspects by sending a message to the proper Commune Election Commission,

which then attempts to find the registered individual at his or her stated place

of residence, but Jahnvibol said the system is far from perfect. "The problem

is that we often can't find these people," he said. "They may live on a

boat, but give a fake address so they can register."

Besides the Vietnamese issue, the Sam Rainsy Party has also submitted an official

complaint to the NEC that overseas Khmers were not given an opportunity to register

for the vote unless they came back to Cambodia.

Surprisingly, no party has filed a complaint that about 80,000 refugees living on

the Thai border were not given access to the registration process.

Thailand offered in June to assist in registering refugees of voting age, but Cambodian

authorities at the NEC said it was too late.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42