The National Election Committee (NEC) urged authorities at all levels to cooperate with the capital-provincial electoral commissions to maintain security, peace and public order during the voter list revision and voter registration period, which will run from October 20 to December 8 of this year.
NEC spokesman Dim Sovannarom addressed a meeting with stakeholders held to discuss several important topics including security during the voter list revision and registration, along with measures to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 at polling stations as well as the registration of political party agents.
To that end, he said NEC and the ministries of Interior and National Defence have introduced their Inter-Institutional Plan 010.
The plan, dated October 25, 2021, details the security precautions in place for the annual voter list check and voter registration drive in the period between the last commune council elections and the upcoming 2023 national election.
He said the plan outlines the mechanisms for safeguarding the voter list and the sanctity of the voter registration rolls and official documents generated or relied upon at other key stages of the electoral process.
He added that the targets that need to be protected at election time include NEC members and election officials at all levels, voter registration teams and commune councils, people checking the voter list and registering to vote, election observers from associations and NGOs, as well as local and international representatives or agents of political parties authorised by NEC to observe the process.
Priority protection targets include the NEC and the capital-provincial election commission offices, voter list and voter registration offices and the storage or transportation of facilities for the voter list revision and voter registration rolls used when transiting from one area to another as set by NEC or the commission at a higher level.
The capital-provincial board of governors will ultimately be responsible for ensuring election security at the sub-national level, he said.
He said that in order to protect the preparations for the voter list revision and voter registration, every part of the security apparatus must perform its assigned functions without fail according to their status, roles and responsibilities and the territorial and jurisdictional competencies of the respective officials, according to Sovannarom.
“Apart from the inter-institutional plan that I informed the NEC about, we’ve also requested the continued cooperation of the National Police to ensure that the 2022 voter list revision and voter registration process take place in a secure environment by ensuring public order and social security, which means preventing interruptions, intimidation and violence,” he said.
Separately, he said that much of the security effort depends on each commune because the process of the voter list revision and voter registration is done at the commune level.
He added that each commune also has its own programme to register people in the villages of that commune. Therefore, the scope of the NEC’s use of the security forces, the police and the village guards there as security guards during the voter list revision and registration has not been determined, because it largely depends on the commune council and the capital-provincial election secretariats.
“When they start their work in villages, there will be two or
three security guards present, depending on the situation. But now there is a new problem for us – or rather the return of a persistent and familiar one – in that some communes have been flooded, so we are checking the situation as it develops in some regions in order to find a safe place for this work to be carried out,” he said.
Based on the calendar for the voter list revision and registration process for 2022, the official list of registered voters will be posted publicly in communes across the country from October 20 onward, thus opening the period for citizens to check that their information is accurate and complete, re-register if they have moved or been removed and to correct any errors they find.