A National Election Committee official on Thursday dismissed accusations that illegal immigrants have been allowed to register for upcoming local polls in 2012.
Speaking as a guest on “Hello VOA,” Hoeu Rong, the director of operations for the NEC, said such accusations surface every election cycle.
“We don’t pay much attention [to the complaints],” he said. “But we [register people] according to the law.”
Critics of the registration process say it allows non-Cambodians from Vietnam to register, stacking the polls in the favor of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
However, Hoeu Rong said anyone who fits the eligibility requirements will be allowed to register. Those requirements include being 18 years old, have Cambodian nationality, be residents in the area where they register, and provide proper identification.
“As long as they fulfill the status of the legal requirements, they can register,” he said.
Voter registration for most places ends on Saturday, but the process has been extended for three days in 330 communes that have been hit by recent floods.
Hoeu Rong said even with the flooding, the NEC has registered more than 812,000 people; have erased 189,000 names from lists where they did not belong; and have corrected about 121,500 names.
However, Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said NEC needed to do more to provide ID cards to potential voters and to make it easier for political parties to campaign to encourage registration. The rural poor need help with photographs for IDs, and with other parts of the process, especially ensuring their names are correct on the registries, he said.
If the election authorities are unable to fully help everyone who needs it, he said, “it would not produce a quality result.”
Hoeu Rong said Thursday people need to make sure they have proper certificates from their local authorities if they need to change their registration, including village chief and local police chief.
“Sometimes people who have registered to vote already don’t know whether their names are right or wrong,” he said. “On Oct. 19, we will release a preliminary list. Then people can check whether their names are wrong, and they can argue with clerks to make a correction of their names, or if they registered but their names are missing, they can argue to change that too.”