When it came to voting day, Socheata decided not to take the difficult day’s journey back to her village to cast her ballot for the highly charged, and pivotal Cambodian election. Instead, the 30 year old office worker in Phnom Penh had the chance to volunteer as an election monitor at 3 polling stations and a central office.
“I have voted many times before” Socheata tells BBC news, “and i was interested in seeing the process for myself, so i chose to become an observer.” What she experienced deeply disappointed her. “People were shouting and crying,” she recalls, “there’s more momentum this time, you can feel it.”
On July 28th, 2013 countless reports of nation-wide election fraud were unfolding. Numerous handheld videos uploaded to facebook and youtube records firsthand evidence of vast voting irregularities, and gives us the sense of the frustration and despair felt by the Cambodian people. We watch interviews exposing suspicious behaviors of marked voters returning to vote again – or scenes of a rural Cambodian village where election officials were paying their poverty stricken citizens a meager sum to vote for the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP).
Not only was the CPP stuffing the ballots illegally, but 1 out of every 8 registered voter in the country, primarily supporters of the opposing Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was denied their right to cast their votes. Names were completely absent from the electoral register, or they would find out that someone else had used their name to steal their vote.
Our Crooked Vote, Rescued Voice petition to save the election of Cambodia. The people of Cambodia had their votes robbed systematically by the very government that they trying to oust. We are asking for U.N help to uphold the integrity of democracy, and to investigate these allegations of widespread cheating. Their is change in Cambodia, and this can mark a momentous turning point in our history
“I was impressed by how engaged young people are... this time, when the opposition leader gave a speech in the run up to the elections, so many young people wearing campaign T-shirts and caps and waving posters turning out on the street, in the heat, and waited to hear him” Socheata continued, “Last time in 2008 when people couldn’t find their names on the register they just walked off. This time they stayed and shouted and cried”