Poll Pressure Not Expected, Survey Shows

Though fears about ballot secrecy persist, most Cambo­dians say they don’t expect pressure or force on how to cast their votes in the elections, a survey released today claims.

The survey, taken in March and April by the Center for Ad­vanced Study, also shows voters are enthusiastic about democratic polls but confused about voting procedures.

Cambodians are de­termined to vote independently, the results suggest. More than 90 percent of 938 respondents said they would not obey an order from a powerful person on who to vote for, while 82 percent would not be influenced by money. Seventy percent also said they would not take advice from anyone else on how to vote. Seventy-eight percent said they do not expect to be pressured to vote for any party while 62 percent said they were not fearful about the elections.

But Thun Saray, president of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, explained that the survey’s results might not be up to date. “The results would be different now that we have held more than 6,000 voter awareness sessions,” he said. “We should carry out the same survey again now.”

William Collins, a CAS team leader, says the CAS hopes to carry out a follow-up survey later this year, depending on funding.

The CAS hoped its survey would contribute to voter education by alerting educators to gaps in voters’ knowledge, he said.

At the time the survey was ta­ken, almost two-thirds of re­spondents said they did not know who or what their vote was for. Only a small fraction of respondents knew when, where or how to vote. Ignorance was greater among women.

The aim of the Baseline Survey of Voter Knowledge and Aware­ness was to provide information to assess the effects of pre-election education campaigns.

Free copies of the survey will be distributed to em­bassies, ministries and NGOs today. Mem­bers of the general public can obtain a copy, priced at $12, from CAS headquarters or Lucky Market.

Some of the gaps in voter knowledge have already been addressed by education programs since the survey was carried out,

 

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