Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is someone voting in your name?


Yesterday, the Phnom Penh Post published maps and data showing voter registration rates are well over 100% in most Phnom Penh. According to the article, more than 145,000 additional names can be found on the voter list for the capital. In Tonle Bassac commune for example, the registration rate is 168%, meaning an extra 9,197 names can be found on the voting list compared to the actual number of voters in the area. For Sras Chok, the corresponding numbers are 138% and 5,747 names. The situation is similar in other parts of the country as well.
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So What does this mean? Well, technically that someone could be voting in your name. The reason for this is that nearly 500,000 Identification Certificate for Election (ICE) forms have been issued by the government since the voter registration period closed. Apparently, these can be easily misused to claim excess names.
For us here at Urban Voice, it is interesting to note that centrally located communes – such as Tonle Bassac and Sras Chok – where the percentage of excess registration is high, are also communes that many people have been evicted from the in the past. This raises the question of whether or not the names of evicted people have been struck off the voter list in their old location, given that the evictees are likely to have registered to vote in their new location. In other words, could someone claim the name of someone evicted from Tonle Bassac, receive an ICE form, and vote fraudulently? According to the Phnom Penh Post, this is a concern because “[provided] the applicant has two witnesses and photos, ICEs can be approved by commune chiefs – more than 97 per cent of whom belong to the Cambodian People’s Party.”
To check if you are featuring twice on the voter list and thus risking someone voting in your name, go to the online voter list or check this list of 25,251 duplicate names created by the Phnom Penh Post.
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