Extended Registration Drive Finds 250,000 New Voters

The National Election Commit­tee registered more than a quarter of a million new voters this month and has extended its annual voter registration drive to give extra time to communes affected by last week’s flooding, officials said yesterday.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that 266,028 out of an estimated 310,000 newly eligible voters added their names to voter rolls this year.

The next commune council election is not until 2012, but voter lists have been updated annually since 2007, Mr Nytha said. This year’s registration period began on Oct 1 and was due to finish yesterday. However, 295 communes requested extensions due to the destructive weather, Mr Nytha said.

One hundred and sixty communes in Kandal, Oddar Meanchey and Koh Kong provinces have until Friday to register. A further 135 communes in six provinces—Kam­pong Chhnang, Pursat, Preah Sihanouk, Battambang, Mondolkiri and Oddar Meanchey—have until Saturday to register.

In Banteay Meanchey, only 32 percent of the province’s 26,790 newly eligible voters signed up, Mr Nytha added.

San Seanhor, commune chief in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet City, said voter numbers in the area were low because many residents had moved to Thailand for work.

Mr Nytha estimated that the number of registered voters would reach 8,592,789 this year, up from 8,331,906 in 2009.

“The progress in deleting ghost names or repeated names is slow,” Mr Nytha said, because voters who move must return to the place they originally registered to remove their names.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia will audit the list in early 2011, ac­cording to Comfrel Executive Director Koul Panha. He said the deadline was often extended because the drive is conducted just after Pchum Ben and during the rainy season, when it is difficult for people to get to registration centers.

  (Additional reporting by Ian Williamson)


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