NEC Unveils Details of Pilot Program for Voter Registration

The National Election Committee (NEC) on Tuesday revealed more details about its pilot project to test biometric voter registration in each of the provinces beginning on November 1 ahead of nationwide registration next year.

About 32,500 people will be unofficially registered during the two-week pilot, according to a statement from the NEC, with one commune selected from each of the 24 provinces and Phnom Penh, and a mixture of rural and urban communes selected so that the results are representative.

Voter registration centers will be set up in 41 villages, the statement said. NEC deputy chairman Kuoy Bunroeun said that the trial registration period would test a new system that is set to rebuild Cambodia’s voter roles.

The CNRP complained of massive irregularities in the voter lists used in the 2013 election, including hundreds of thousands of names that were either missing or listed more than once. The NEC is now working to remake the lists using biometric data such as photos and fingerprints.

“The first purpose is that we want to implement the administrative procedures and see whether or not the administrative mechanisms will work smoothly in terms of the people coming to register—the documents, the fingerprint collection, and so on,” Mr. Bunroeun said.

“The second purpose is to see whether or not the capacity of the computerized voter registration works well or not in terms of data management, voter name verification…and the double name issue,” he added.

“Mainly, it’s to see whether or not the capacity of the data management is strong enough to prevent insiders or outsiders from destroying voter registration data.”

Mr. Bunroeun said those registered in the pilot project would still have to officially register next year.

Many Cambodians do not possess valid national ID cards, which are required for registration, but he said the Interior Ministry recently passed a decree that will allow people to use expired national ID cards to register.

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