Registration Reopening

About one-third of Phnom Penh’s voter registration stations will reopen starting Tuesday in hopes of increasing registration turn­out, officials said Sunday.

“We will use pickup trucks driving along the street with loudspeakers on Monday to appeal to people to register. They have only four days to go,” Phnom Penh Provincial Election Committee Executive Director Som Sith said.

Current National Election Com­mittee procedures call for registration stations to open for three days each, on a rotating basis around each commune. The stations typically are allotted 700 voters each.

Twenty-three of the stations in the city’s 76 municipal communes will reopen Tuesday and Wed­nesday. Another four will reopen Wednesday and Thursday.

According to an NEC report released Friday, 68 percent of eligible voters in Phnom Penh, or 366,931 people, have registered.

Election monitors have urged the government to lengthen the registration period beyond the current Thursday deadline. On Sun­day, Koul Panha, from the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elections, said reopening stations would not ensure sufficient registration.

“We will let people know the registration deadline and we have no power to force them or prevent them from registration. When the deadline arrives and they don’t come, that means they have made the decision already,” he said.

Comfrel released a survey of 200 Phnom Penh and Kandal residents who have not registered. The survey, conducted from Aug 4 to Aug 6, stated that 10 percent of respondents said they had tried to register but were refused because they didn’t have proper documents.

Other re­spon­dents had different explanations:

• 45 percent said they did not understand the importance of the commune election;

• 22 percent said they were not given enough time to register;

• 12 percent said they did not have enough documents and did not see the point in going to the registration center;

• 6 percent said they felt the procedure was too complicated;

• 5 percent said they were concerned about security or safety.

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