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Lack of ID Inhibiting Voter Registration Process


People look through the voters' list after a polling station opened for the general elections in Kandal province July 28, 2013.

People look through the voters' list after a polling station opened for the general elections in Kandal province July 28, 2013.

The Ministry of Interior recently began providing a new type of ID card, to replace expired identification nationwide.

A pilot project to register new voters in November will meet difficulties, because many villagers lack simple identification cards, officials say.

The National Election Committee hopes to test a new digital registration process in 41 villages, ahead of local elections in 2017.

But the government estimates that as many as half of the country’s 9 million potential voters don’t have the identification that would be required for any kind of registration.

Ung Krin, a 55-year-old mother of three, who lives in Kampong Chhnang province, is an example of a non-registered voter. “It’s concerning,” she said. “If I don’t have an ID card, I won’t be allowed to vote.”

The Ministry of Interior recently began providing a new type of ID card, to replace expired identification nationwide. But Mao Chandara, who is in charge of the ministry’s identification department, said it is unlikely new ID cards will be issued to everyone by November, when the pilot project is scheduled to begin.

“We have provided the new kind of ID to five and a half million people,” he said, “but we cannot complete the task, because it is a few months away.”

The department will try hard to help the NEC complete the pilot registration project, and he expects the IDs to be full issued to people by March 2016, well ahead of commune elections.

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