Voting for the Party I like
It is my third time to participate in the Commune Election. We are living in the Boeung Kak 1 Sangkat, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh. The first one was in 2002 and the second one was in 2007. I have prepared myself (also reminded to other family members of the voting day and necessary papers) properly and would like to be the first one at the polling station on June 3, 2012.
I left my house at 6:55am to go to my polling station, just very close to my house. Exactly at 7:00am, I arrived there. To my surprise, already some people came out of the polling station with their finger tinted and is also long queue already. It means that they have voted even before the official opening time. I have made some pictures around and started to queue behind other people as well. There were around 15 persons in front of me. Two of them realized that they did not have identification papers with them as requested according to the law. They have election information cards and they believed it would be enough, though on the back side it is written quite clearly that people needs to bring other documents (ID, passport, family books, civil servants ID, monks ID etc.) in order to be able to vote. They need to go back and I am not sure if they will return to vote. The National Election Committee also distributed information in TV, Radios, Newspapers, leaflets etc. to inform about this regulation. But, people might take too little attention on this.
It was a very quiet and cool morning in the streets of Phnom Penh. Many people, who come from the province to work in Phnom Penh, left the city to go to vote in their hometown, where they are registered. The situation in and around the polling stations is quiet, orderly and well organized. The election staff tried to help voters to find their names, inform them again in advance, what kind of ID they should have in order to be eligible to vote. It took me about ten minutes for waiting. Finally, it is my turn to express my rights as responsible citizen in this country. I have read that photo camera is not allowed to be taken into the polling station, but I took it into the room and asked later if I can make any photo inside. One election official politely rejected my request. My photo camera is kept outside for me.
After voting, I feel very happy and I have chosen the party I like, without fear, harassment or any kind of pressure. I observed that there is no intimidation from the police or authorities. All went smoothly. However, the turn over to vote seems to be less from election to election. There are also many first time voters and the parties need to have the right strategy to attract them. Let’s wait for the preliminary result in this afternoon.