Election gets the finger

A Cambodian woman voter holds up her freshly inked finger after voting at the Chreav village voting station.​​ CAROLYN O'NEILL
A Cambodian woman voter holds up her freshly inked finger after voting at the Chreav village voting station.​​ CAROLYN O'NEILL

Election gets the finger

Last Sunday the Siem Reap electorate cast its ballots in one of Cambodia’s more memorable and greatly anticipated elections. Voters across town queued patiently and quietly amid rampant speculation of voter fraud and widespread voting irregularities.

The indelible yet washable ink; voters missing from the registration list; voters duplicated on the registration list and voters who showed up to find their name had already been used to cast a ballot.

Recent voters, including monks, at the Wat Damnak voting station, compare their ink stained fingers after testing the quality of the "indelible" ink.​​ CAROLYN O'NEILL
Recent voters, including monks, at the Wat Damnak voting station, compare their ink stained fingers after testing the quality of the "indelible" ink.​​ CAROLYN O'NEILL

Of the eight polling venues visited that day, we encountered many voters who were experiencing difficulties of one form or another. Even so, the day passed peacefully, if not somewhat eerily quiet for a typical Sunday. Many of Siem Reap’s businesses were shut so that workers could leave town to cast their ballots in their home provinces throughout Cambodia. Another positive indication of how serious voters were to exercise their right to vote and have their voices heard.

But were they heard?

Photo essay by Carolyn O'Neill