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NEC Prepares Voter Information Cards

Tep Nitha, secretary general of NEC, and other senior officials on Friday, May 3, 2013, speaks at a press conference at the NEC headquarters. (Suy Heimkhemra/VOA Khmer)
The National Election Committee says it will start distributing voter information cards to the public, another step in the run-up to July’s national polls.

The cards will tell people when and where they are to vote during the July 27 election. More than 9 million will be produced, one for every registered voter.

However, critics of the current system say that irregularities can occur in the deliver of such cards, as was the case in 2008, preventing supporters of the opposition from knowing where to vote.

Tep Nitha, secretary-general for the National Election Committee, told reporters Wednesday the cards would be distributed through most of June to all registered voters. “It will give people further information,” he said.

Ho Vann, head of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the cards were important, but that other problems persist in the provinces, especially at the village level, where chiefs loyal to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party can manipulate delivery.

“They are likely to give the cards to people who come from the same party, the ruling party,” he said, but not to known supporters of the opposition. This creates a disadvantage for the opposition, whose constituents may then not know when or where to vote on July 27.

The NEC should allow the participation of other local representatives from different parties, to ensure this does not happen, he said.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said irregularities with voter information cards have taken place in past elections, especially in delivery failures. He too suggested more participation from the seven other parties that will contest the upcoming elections.