Since registration for the 2008 national elections began Sept 15, 233,775 new voters have added their names to the election rolls while nearly 6 percent of the eligible voters remain unregistered, the National Election Committee announced Friday.
In a statement released to the media, the NEC said that Cambodia’s voting-age population stood at 7,825,161 and that nearly 450,000 eligible voters have yet to register.
NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said Sunday he was fairly confident that the outstanding voters could be signed up by the time registration closes Oct 20.
“It is not a matter of the registration period. People are busy making a living and pay less attention [to voting],” Tep Nytha said. Eligible voters are often late to register, he noted.
Puthea Hang, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections, said Sunday that it was too early to tell whether the NEC would be successful in registering those not yet registered to vote.
“One week or five days near the end of registration, we can evaluate,” he said, adding that a significant number of unregistered voters could affect the outcome of a close election call.
Puthea Hang also said that the NEC should step up its publicity campaign as eligible voters may not remember to sign up unless reminded that an election is looming.
He also called on the NEC to extend the registration period by one month.
Tep Nytha, however, said that no decision on an extension has yet been discussed.
SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said his party was generally concerned about the complexity of the voter registration process. Voters in Phnom Penh have complained of difficulties in registering, he said.
Son Chhay pointed out that margins of error in the pre-election management of voters may take on greater importance if the SRP comes close to its rivals on election day.
“I think there are many people who are concerned about that,” he said.