NEC Announces Cut-Off for Voters Needing Identity Documents

The National Election Committee (NEC) has said that Friday marked the cut-off for voters needing to apply for documents to clarify their identities, leaving it uncertain whether more than 800,000 people will be able to vote in the July 28 election.

A statement from the NEC said that communes nationwide must stop issuing so-called blue passes—which can be obtained by people who are missing the identification documents required to cast a vote.

NEC Secretary-Director Tep Nytha said that since last year, 480,000 blue passes had been issued among the almost 1.3 million people who do not possess the right credentials.

“We ordered all communes to issue a letter to people so they are able to vote in this fifth mandate because it helps any voters who have lost their identity cards,” he said.

However, Mr. Nytha said that two weeks before the election, he was yet to receive notification that passes had been issued to another 810,000 people who had applied for them.

“We do not yet know the figure for the [remaining] documents be­cause we have not yet received the total number from local authorities,” Mr. Nytha said.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said the number of documents not yet issued was of concern since local officials might exert influence over who is able to vote.

“We have experience from 2008, because most of the commune chiefs are CPP they don’t issue documents to some people to vote,” he said, adding that blue passes should be issued until as late as possible.

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