Young potential voters who have migrated abroad in search of work are facing the loss of their voting rights due to a lack of information and documents required to register to vote from a location different to their registered address, civil society groups said yesterday. During a workshop on “The Challenges and Solutions: Voter Registration for Youth,” in Phnom Penh, Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Center for Development and Peace (PDP-Center) said that according to their data, many youths were unaware of how to register to vote in next year’s commune elections. “Youths are more than half of the country’s citizens, some of whom are migrants working in foreign countries and are facing the loss of their right to vote if they do not go to register. This is a concern as there might be a problem for the democratic process if the youth do not participate.”
Sonket Sereyleak, gender coordinator at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel), told attendees that while there had been no obstacles baring voters, it is worrying that some citizens have difficulty legally confirming their identity and that issues with migrant worker registration was a concern.
“Soldiers and armed forces, whether they work locally or by the border, they can register in different places, but migrant workers…still cannot register in a different place to where they live. It’s the implementation of two standards that we see and it’s not right.”
Civil society organization officials have requested the National Election Committee (NEC) to increase media extensively for youth and to make it easy for migrant workers to register to vote at any location.