The National Election Committee (NEC) will introduce three new pieces of software for use in June’s commune council elections.
According to the NEC decision – made on January 31 and seen by The Post on February 3 – the three systems are a programme which manages the candidates from each participating party, one which certifies the identities of those voters without ID cards, and one which will check, verify, and total the results of the election.
“The above-mentioned programmes will be used to assist the municipal and provincial electoral commissions, and the NEC to increase the effectiveness and transparency of their election work, and to reduce some of the challenges they may face during the election process,” the NEC said in its decision.
“Procedures for the application of these programmes will be set in instructions that will be issued by the NEC,” it added.
NEC spokesman Som Sorida told The Post on February 3 that the committee planned to conduct a trial election at 50 stations in the capital and the 24 provinces. A trial had previously been scheduled to test the three programmes, but it had been postponed due to the pandemic.
However, the programmes had been tested and were found to be working smoothly, so they would certainly be used in the elections.
Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said that the party respected the decision of the NEC and all political parties should implement these programmes because they are unlikely to cause any problems.
He said introducing the new technology for the coming elections was in line with the times and technological advances; and noted that the NEC is now well supplied with computers, whereas it was not in the past.
“The election systems should be modernised because people are now used to modern equipment and we need to embrace this new era,” he said.
Kheuy Sinoeun, vice president of The Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) said there may be some issues registering their candidates for some of the smaller political parties. Because some parties may lack resources, it could slow the registration process down for them.
He said the system could be good for developing the country and the NEC itself, but there may be problems if some voters or politicians are unfamiliar with the technology.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia said that the programmes that the NEC intends to put into use will ease the election process and produce faster results.
To ensure the maximum benefit of these systems, he urged the NEC to provide adequate training to all political parties.
“New technology is sometimes hard to adapt to, and if the political parties have never used these programmes, they will need to be up-skilled. In the past, parties registered their candidates by submitting hand written forms and not through the use of computers,” he added.