The owner of the popular independent Beehive Radio has formd a new association he hopes will encourage more people to register to vote.
Mom Sonando said he formed the Democractic Association after he became concerned that about 20 percent of Cambodians still need formal documents like identification needed to register to vote.
“First, I’ll research in each village how many people don’t have IDs and learn what the problem is for authorities not agreeing to do the documents for them,” he said. “Then I will take the issue and solve it.”
Cambodia goes to the polls every five years, first in national elections and then in parliamentary elections. The next elections are scheduled for 2012 and 2013. In 2008, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party swept the National Assembly, winning 90 or 123 seats in what critics said was a flawed poll. The National Election Committee has weathered continued criticism that voter lists are not accurate or that polling places are difficult for some to get to.
Mom Sonanda said there are three main problems in voter registration.
Many Cambodians carry the misconception that only foreign aliens need documentation, he said. Documentation can also be costly, especially where corrupt officials are involved. And some local authorities who are loyal to the ruling party do not help everyone, he said.
As a result, of 8 million potential voters, only about 5 million are eligible, he said.
Mom Sonando is currently in the US to find support for his plan.