kompong cham town – Voters came early to the polling stations in Kompong Cham town, some rising as early as three in the morning to make it to the polls by 7 am.
At least 40 or 50 excited voters shuffled around outside the North School polling station in Kompong Cham town shortly before election workers opened the doors and officially started the election day voting.
The first voter to cast his ballot walked up to the polling station doors at exactly 7:00, and after election officials checked the validity of his registration card, allowed him to walk inside the station.
Dressed in a blue button-up shirt, black pants and wearing a baseball cap, the voter—a man who looked to be in his 40s—glanced around the polling station apprehensively. Two ballot boxes stood near the back of the small school room, and across from him, along the far wall, sat election monitors from Committee for Free and Fair Elections, Neutral, Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, the Sam Rainsy Party, the CPP, Funcinpec and the Norodom Chakrapong Proloeung Khmer Party.
Along the other side of the wall sat several election workers who were processing the voter. They guided him over to a table where they handed him a ballot, then led him to one of the small, walled-off polling booths. He spent less than a minute mulling his options before he cast his ballot.
The voter immediately made his way for the door after dropping his ballot into the shiny steel ballot box, but was stopped quickly by election workers. They directed him over to a woman standing at a small table with only a jar of ink on it. She took the man’s hand, extended one of his fingers, and dipped the finger in the ink.
The voter, like more the five million others, pulled his finger out of the ink well and smiled as he walked out the door of the North School polling station. The voter was Heng Samrin, honorary president of the CPP and deputy Assembly president. After he voted came another, then another and then another.
Fifteen minutes after the polling station opened, a crowd of jostling and laughing voters, holding their registration material out to be verified, were mobbing the entrance of the polling station.