NEC Examines Ballot Boxes, Awards Election Printing Bid

The National Election Com­mittee on Monday viewed the ballot boxes that will be used in elections scheduled for July 26. 

Funded by the Japanese government, the 12,500 collapsible metal boxes cost a total of $3 million.

NEC members and other elections officials watched a demonstration of how to assemble the boxes and work the three locks that are designed to prevent anyone from removing a ballot once it is cast or adding one after the polls are closed.

One member of the audience noted, however, that all the locks on the ballot boxes were identical, the same key able to open all of them.

A Japanese technician said this was part of the design so that lost keys would not be a problem. “You should be very careful to manage the keys,” he added.

The NEC also has awarded the contract to print election ballots  to a New Zealand firm, ac­cording to spokes­man Leng Sochea.

Moore Business Forms and Systems of Auckland had the low bid of $450,000 among the 13 companies that bid for the job, he said.

The company will print 9 million ballots or 12,000 packs of 750, one pack for each polling place, officials said.

A different ballot will have to be printed for almost every province and municipality taking part in the elections, since not every party is fielding candidates in every province, officials said.

Only Phnom Penh has all 39 parties participating. Mondolkiri province has the lowest number of parties, with only six competing for the province’s sole seat in the National Assembly. Pailin municipality and Stung Treng pro­vince will be the only two areas to use the same ballot, with the same seven parties on each.

Last week, all 39 parties drew lots to determine their order on the ballot. The relative order will remain the same in each pro­vince, with those not participating simply blanked off the ballot, officials said.

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