NEC Estimates 6.8 Million Eligible Voters

More than 6.8 million Cambo­dians will be eligible to vote in the 2003 national elections, with three-quarters of them already reg­istered because of the commune elections, a spokesman for the National Election Committee elections said Sunday.

Of the 6.8 million people the vo­ting age of 18 or older, about        5.1 mil­lion were already registered for the 2002 commune elections, spokesman Leng Sochea said. Reg­istration for those 5 million will mean nothing more than checking the spellings of their names. “There are about 1 million other people, including people in the early voting ages, who have never registered or who are always changing their residence,” he said.

To accommodate voters, the NEC estimates that 12,845 poll­ing station sites will be set up by June 26, Leng Sochea said.

Registration preparation began Jan 6 in all of the country’s 1,621 communes, Leng Sochea said. In past elections, registration has been run by NEC officials. But this year, commune clerks will be trained to execute the process.

Voter registration is due to be­gin Friday and is scheduled to end Feb 15.

More than $400,000 already has been spent on materials for the registration process, including cameras, film and educational leaflets. Using commune clerks instead of NEC officials during the registration period will reduce costs, Leng Sochea said.

In past elections, approximately 500 mobile registration units were available for three days in dif­ferent parts of the country. This year, more than 1,600 units will be available for 20 days in each commune and then will travel for 10 days to hospitals and remote parts of the country.

In 1998, voters registered and placed ballots in the same locations. This year, the registration and voting processes will take place at separate sites.



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