NGOs Say NEC Has to Work on Speed, Efficiency of Voter List

The National Election Committee’s $1 million pilot project last month to test its new computerized voter registration system revealed that the registration process is inefficient and needs to be sped up, a group of NGOs calling itself the Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA) said at a press conference on Thursday.

The new bipartisan National Election Committee (NEC) will next year rebuild Cambodia’s voter list from scratch using a computerized system to remove hundreds of thousands of missing and double names.

During a 15-day test of the system last month, the NEC only managed to register 54 percent of its target of 32,526 voters. Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, part of the ERA, said that the registration process was simply too slow.

“We think it was not good enough, as it took a lot of time to register one voter,” he said at the conference at Phnom Penh’s Sunway Hotel. “They need to strengthen the effectiveness of the registration operation, because it took between six and 10 minutes to register one applicant.”

The ERA found that it took, on average, two minutes for the chief of a voter registration team to conduct an interview with an applicant, then three minutes for his deputy to fill in a form and five minutes for typists to enter the data into the

system.

It also came to the conclusion that the NEC did not provide adequate instructions for applicants on how to provide their thumbprints and photographs for the system.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea, who attended the conference, acknowledged the problems with the pilot, but said that the NEC had made its best effort to meet its registration target.

“The garment workers went to work and finished their work in the evening when the NEC had already closed its doors, but the NEC kept working beyond its working hours to register them,” he said.

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