NEC defends printing of extra ballots for vote

Source 
The Phnom Penh Post
Publication Country 
Cambodia
Publication Date 
Fri, 2017-05-05

“The National Election Committee yesterday defended its decision to print 1.5 million extra ballots for the upcoming commune elections, saying the chances of misuse were minimal given better identification systems – though the opposition and civil society remained unconvinced. Following the NEC’s announcement that it would print 9.4 million ballots for 7.9 million voters last week, nine NGOs – led by election monitors Comfrel and Nicfec – released a statement on Tuesday questioning the need for the high number of extra ballots, saying it was an additional cost of $330,000 and ran the risk of being misused. The NEC’s decision would mean printing 20 percent more ballots than are strictly necessary, with NGOs pointing out most countries, on average, only produce an extra 2 to 5 percent. On Wednesday, however, the NEC released a statement saying the move was necessitated by the prospect of torn ballots, printing errors and voters making mistakes while voting. ‘NGOs and political parties will be deployed to observe the election at each polling station . . . so what can go wrong?’ NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said, adding that polling officers will destroy the extra ballots an hour after voting is closed. However, concerns have been raised in the past over election irregularities and accuracy of voter lists in spite of observers, especially in the wake of the 2013 national elections, the results of which were disputed by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.”