Voter registration check-up starts in October

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A woman looks for her name on a voter list for the national election held in 2018 in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

The National Election Committee (NEC) has called on all citizens of voting age to check their status on the voter list and/or register to vote from October 12 to November 30 at commune halls in advance of the 2022 commune elections.

In a notice signed by NEC chairman Prach Chan on September 1, the voter registration checks are to ensure that the lists are complete, accurate and up-to-date well ahead of the upcoming elections.

The NEC has already deleted the names of deceased voters and also delisted those who have been temporarily deprived of their right to vote by the courts, in addition to updating the registrations of voters who have relocated to another commune.

For the 2022 commune elections, those with a birth date on or before June 6, 2004, will be eligible to vote. New voters must register with their commune and be prepared to provide appropriate reference documents, the notice said. Similarly, any voters who have relocated since the last elections should update their registrations with their new commune.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said this process was being conducted in order to ensure the smooth administration of the next elections.

He noted that any voters who encounter a problem or irregularity with their registration such as misspelled names or other data errors should promptly request a correction.

Puthea said all voters should register in the commune that serves as their current primary residence rather than the commune where they were born or where their parents live.

"Every year, the law requires the NEC to update the voter lists by registering and checking the lists for a 30-day period, so we are doing that for the lists that will be used in the 2022 commune elections," he said.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFIC), said his organisation had no plans to deploy any observers for the annual registration check by the NEC because the Covid-19 outbreak was ongoing and he was concerned for the safety of his staff.

Once the Covid-19 situation is under control and the risk of infection reduced, his organisation will resume observing the activities at NEC related to voter registration.

"Our observers are volunteers and its a lot to ask of people volunteering out of civic duty to risk their lives," he said.