NEC Falls Short of Removing All ‘Ghost Names’ From Voter List

The National Election Committee (NEC) on Wednesday closed the official voter registration period, which lasted for 20 days and saw more than 170,000 people added and nearly 100,000 names struck from the voter list.

The list has been heavily criticized by election monitors, who say the compilation of it—largely by hand—is the reason so many people’s names were erroneously missing from it on election day in July.

“There were 174,105 names added and 98,468 were deleted from the voter list in 1,616 out of the 1,633 communes nationwide,” said NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha.

Despite nearly 100,000 names having been removed from the list, the number fell far short of the 270,000 names that the NEC admitted had been duplicated on the list. The NEC had also originally estimated at the beginning of October that about 337,000 people would register for the first time.

“The NEC estimated that there would be 200,000 ‘ghost names’ deleted this year, but for the 20 days of registration, the NEC deleted 98,468, because deleting the names of dead people is easier than deleting the names of people who move, or the double names,” Mr. Nytha said, offering an explanation for the shortfall in deleted names from the voter list.

“The NEC will delete [the double names] when it has enough documents” in the next round of voter registration in a year’s time, he said, adding that the reason for fewer registrations was due to widespread flooding.

To do this, he said, people who suspect their names have been duplicated must report the problem to their local commune offices before the commune election committees could delete them.

The opposition CNRP claims that the duplication and erroneous deletion of names on the list meant that at least 1 million people were disenfranchised during the election.

CNRP president Sam Rainsy registered on October 7, after having had his name removed from the list earlier in the year due to his criminal convictions on charges that many believed were politically motivated.

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