Local authorities told to verify voter lists as elections approach

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman looks for her name on a voter list for the election in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district in 2018. Heng Chivoan

The National Election Committee (NEC) and the Ministry of Interior have advised capital and provincial authorities to review their voter lists and voting registrations.

In a joint letter on May 26, interior minister Sar Kheng and NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok said the local authorities at all levels need to prepare a completely updated and correct list.

NEC deputy secretary-general Som Sorida told The Post that the letter was to update old instructions that said the duty of taking a headcount of the residents who were registering to vote was transferred to commune councils and clerks and commune administrative police chiefs.

“But in these new instructions we urge village chiefs to take their own headcount of residents who are registering to vote. We consider them the most reliable operators for taking a headcount of the residents in their villages.

“Village chiefs know their residents from the beginning to the end of their villages. Village chiefs know very well where residents go, when they die or where they live. So, village chiefs are the best choice for taking a headcount of residents at voting registration,” he explained.

The NEC has two goals in taking a headcount of residents – the first is to delete the names off of the voter lists of people who have died or moved and the second is to register the names of new voters.

Sorida said that the work of taking a headcount of residents complied with Article 51 of the law on parliamentarian elections. The law stipulates that the NEC should validate formal voter lists compiled through the commune councils’ taking a headcount of residents every two months.

New voters are those who will be 18-years-old by the next election day or by the day that the formal voter list will be validated – along with those who are of age to vote but haven’t registered in the past or those who moved to a new commune since the last election.

Sorida stated that commune councils and clerks are the ones to take a headcount and send them to the capital and provincial heads of the secretariats in charge of elections.

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree on March 1 announcing that the date for the commune elections of the fifth mandate would be June 5, 2022.