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NEC worried about low voter registration

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The rate of people registering to vote is currently half of what was expected. KT/Mai Vireak

The National Election Committee yesterday expressed concern over low turnout for voter registration for next year’s national election.

Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the NEC, said about 20,000 people should be registering per day, but so far, an average of just 10,000 had registered per day.

The NEC said that 59,185 people across the country went to register from September 1 to September 10.

Voter registration runs until November 9. As of Wednesday, 85,979 people across the country had registered.

Mr Nytha said there could be many reasons for the slow turnout, but hoped that most voters were just putting it off until the deadlines neared.

“I hope that the people will increase when the vote registry officials move to the villages,” Mr Nytha said.

He said dissemination of information for people to register had been compromised in some locations due to faulty equipment, citing it as one of the reasons for low turnout.

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Last month, NEC president Sik Bun Hok said those who had become old enough to vote along with those who did not register last year amounted to 1,412,149 people. He also said that 23,470 election offices would be needed.

Mr Bun Hok added that Cambodia had a population of 15,883,250. Those aged 18 and over, who had the right to vote, totalled 9,788,239. There were 7,865,033 people on the 2016 voting list. Moeun Tola, executive director of rights group Central, said that dissemination of information could be one cause for low turnout, but the likely culprit was the political climate.

Presidents of three political parties have been jailed recently, including the opposition CNRP’s leader Kem Sokha on treason charges.

“I have even heard people questioning if there will be an election in 2018. It’s because of the tension in the political environment,” he said. Mr Tola said another reason could be the millions of voters working abroad who were unable to return to the country to register.

“In the past, we found that most of the people who fail to register are migrant workers,” he said.

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