NEC’s Hang Puthea speaks on importance of voter registration

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NEC spokesman Hang Puthea speaks at a recent press conference at the committee’s headquarters. Post Staff

In accordance with the Law on Parliamentary Elections, the examination of the voter list and registration – and the validation of both – shall be carried out each year.

In the election process, voter registration is the first and most important step. The voter list is an indispensable requirement, which is why the National Election Committee (NEC) is paying close attention to ensuring the voting rights of the Cambodian people are respected, as enshrined in the Constitution.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea sat down with The Post’s Nov Sivutha to discuss this vital work.

How important is the upcoming voter list and registration?

According to the law, the annual voter list and registration review is conducted annually for the purpose of updating the list. The 2022 voter list will be used for the 2023 general election.

Therefore, it is important and necessary to update this voter list. Every year the demographics of Cambodia change, which presents some issues relating to administrative management. For example, many people have just turned 18, and must now be registered so they can exercise their democratic rights to vote.

At the same time, many of the older people on the list have passed away, and must be removed. There are also many people who have moved from one commune or province to another, so their details must be updated and their names transferred from one list to another.

And then there are those who have been banned by law from participating in political activities. The NEC has a role to play in ensuring that they follow the law. That is why the lists are updated annually, and this is one of the main responsibilities of the NEC.

Is the NEC ready to begin the process?

We are preparing for all four stages of the election: Preparation of the voter list; registration of political parties and election campaign; election and vote counting; and the declaration of election results.

The NEC has to ensure that each stage is managed carefully. For the first phase, we are preparing the voter list for the June 23 election next year by organising registration and voter list verification teams in each commune.

To assemble these teams, we are recruiting more than 3,000 officials. Upon recruitment, we will train them to our high standards to guarantee that we have an accurate list ahead of the election.

How long will the voter list and voter registration process take?

Voter list verification and registration will last for 50 days in 2022, from October 20 to December 8. The only requirement for citizens who wish to register to vote is a Cambodian identity card, which they will need to present to the voter registration team to be signed up.

If a citizen has an invalid ID card, he or she must apply at their commune hall and obtain updated documentation before they can register.

How many people does the NEC expect to register in 2022?

The NEC is working with the authorities in all communes to collect information on those who have not yet registered to vote. Each year we normally register between 200,000 and 300,000 people. However, since next year is a national election, it may motivate more people to take part.

Without their name on the 2022 voter list, can people go to the polls in 2023?

People who are not on the 2022 voter list will not be able to vote in 2023. Only those whose names are on the list can vote.

The law states that in order to be able to vote, citizens must be 18 years of age or older and have their names on the voter list.