The National Election Committee has determined that over 650,000 ghost names need to be deleted from the national voter list and over 682,000 voters need to be registered in advance of the 2008 election, according to a statement released Aug 17.
“The figures were accurate because they were based on door-to-door checks” by local officials, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said Aug 20.
The numbers were roughly equivalent because most ghost voters are individuals who have moved and thus need to re-register, Tep Nytha said.
The difference of 32,000 between the numbers reflects youths who just reached voting age, voters who passed away and repeat entries on the list, he added.
Fearing that some voters had been erroneously listed as ghost names, SRP President Sam Rainsy sent a letter to NEC President Im Suosdey on Aug 20 asking the body not to delete nearly 700 individuals in four provinces.
Tep Nytha said the NEC had sent the SRP’s list of names to be double-checked by local officials, but cast doubt on the party’s claims.
“I believe village chiefs and commune officials have evidence or documents [for] listing the ghost names,” he said.
Tep Nytha also appealed for voters to check the lists of ghost names displayed at commune offices and file complaints if they found they were mistakenly marked for deletion.
Mar Sophal, monitoring coordinator for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said his organization estimated more than 10 percent of listed ghost voters are legitimately registered individuals and should not be deleted. “The problem is considerably worrisome,” he said.
he said, but added that his organization had “not found any political motivation behind it.”