Independent election monitors and opposition politicians expressed concern Sunday that people wishing to vote in the 2008 national election are not checking properly to ensure that their names remain on the national voter list.
Saturday was the first day of voter registration for next year’s national election.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said voters who went to commune offices to check that their names were on the voter list were not aware of the existence of a separate list of names to be deleted.
If a voter’s name appears on the registered voter list for 2006, but also happens to be listed for deletion on the separate list, they risk losing their ability to vote next year, Koul Panha said.
Both the 2006 national voter list and the list of names for deletion—also referred to as the 1025-form list—were posted in commune and village offices across the country Saturday.
The National Election Committee said last month that around 650,000 names were listed for deletion from the 2006 voter list. About 160,000 names were deleted from the registry in the previous year.
“When [Comfrel] told voters their names were listed on the 1025 form list [for deletion], they were surprised,” Koul Panha said, adding that a recent Comfrel study had found that 4 percent of the voters on the 1025-form list were wrongly listed for deletion.
Some commune offices had placed marks besides the names of the voters listed for deletion on the 2006 national list, but not all had done so, he added.
SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said that the NEC had not issued enough instructions to voters about the need to check both the voter list and the 1025-form list.
The SRP will submit a letter of complaint to the NEC urging them to instruct local officials to put clear markings next to the names that will be deleted from the national voter list, he said.
Norodom Ranariddh Party Cabinet Chief Muth Channtha said Sunday that he was also concerned that voters were not double-checking the 1025-form list and could be disenfranchised as a result.
NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that the NEC had issued adequate instructions about the registration process to local officials, who were to remind voters about checking both lists.
“I checked about it with commune officials, and they said there was no such problem,” Tep Nytha said.
Jerome Cheung, resident country director of the US-based National Democratic Institute, said that the issue was of particular concern this year as there were many more names listed for deletion than in the lead-up to previous elections.
(Additional reporting by Suzy Khimm)