Measure Lets Local Officials Design Ballots

Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers unsuccessfully pushed for a standardized commune election ballot during a National Assembly debate Wed­nesday on the draft commune election law.

The Assembly instead voted that ballots for each of Cam­bodia’s more than 1,600 communes will be individually de­signed by commune election commissions, which will be ap­pointed by the National Election Committee.

“This is really a technical issue that the local commissions need to deal with,” Deputy Prime Min­ister Sar Kheng said.

Critics claim the local commissions could influence voters by placing one party logo prominently on the ballot while giving others a less visible location.

Changing the position of party logos on the ballots may confuse voters—a significant percentage of whom are illiterate and might rely on friends from neighboring communes to read their ballots, said Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Sun Kim Hun.

“What if the people from the first commune tell the people from the second commune that the CPP is listed first…so they put their vote in the wrong place and pick the Sam Rainsy Party?” he asked.

Several lawmakers suggested assigning each party a number that would remain the same on ballots nationwide.

“If a clear number is put on the ballot, the voter will never pick the wrong party,” Funcinpec lawmakers Khim Chamroeun said.

CPP Assembly members said voters, even those who can’t read, would recognize party logos.

 

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