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Cambodia Voter Registry Audit III Brief on Objectives, Methodology and Activities

March 29, 2013

Cambodia Voter Registry Audit III

Brief on Objectives, Methodology and Activities


  1. 1.      What is VRA?

A Voter Registry Audit (VRA) is a systematic and scientific assessment of the quality of the voter registry. It does not focus on voter registration as a process nor every single voter in Cambodia, but rather uses statistical methodology to produce a contextual report on the overall quality of the voter registry. A VRA is a method that is used by independent election observers around the world and has been proven reliable and accurate internationally.

  1. 2.      Why is it important?

Exercising the fundamental right to vote in most countries depends largely on the existence of an accurate and complete voter registry. The maintenance and upkeep of such a voters list can be particularly challenging in countries with insufficient records, transient populations or weak infrastructure. Moreover, voter registries are susceptible to manipulation for electoral advantage. Verification of the accuracy of a voter registry in the form of a voter registry audit (VRA) can help to detect and deter electoral fraud, correct administrative errors and promote broad public confidence in the process on election day and beyond. The goal of the VRA is to assess the quality of the new voters list emerging out of the 2012 voter registration update. This list will be used in the 2013 National Assembly Elections.

  1. 3.      Who conducted the VRA?

The VRA is conducted by the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), a leading independent election observation organization with the technical assistance from the Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The VRA is financially supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The VRA has been approved by the National Election Committee (NEC) and abides by Cambodia’s election regulations and laws.


  1. 4.      How does the VRA work?

The VRA included two types of field tests: list-to-people tests and people-to-list tests.

  • The list-to-people exercise seeks to ensure that every name on the voter registry is that of an actual person who is eligible to vote and that his/her information, such as address, are correct and up-to-date. CAS randomly selected a sample of names from the voters list and NICFEC interviewers attempted to locate and interview those individuals. NICFEC also attempted to locate a sample of individuals in the deletion list.
  • The people-to-list test seeks to determine what proportion of the eligible voting population is on the voters list. NICFEC interviewers randomly selected and interviewed eligible citizens within their assigned commune and village. The interviewers also located special respondents from quota categories, including 18 year olds, disabled, deceased, and recently relocated citizens.

The VRA was conducted using a multi-stage representative random sampling.  Interviewers deployed to 414 communes throughout the 24 provinces. Each observer interviewed four people on the voters list, two people from the deletion list, four randomly selected Cambodia citizens who are eligible to vote and two quota respondents. In total, the VRA sampled 4893 Cambodian citizens.

Typical to NDI’s global VRA methodology is a third test called a “computer audit,” which is intended to complement the VRA’s field tests.  A computer audit is conducted using an automated analysis of the entire voter list to identify duplicate names on the list, determine the rate of incomplete or inaccurate records and expose any problematic trends, such as under-age voters on the list. Unfortunately, NDI and its partners were not able to secure the national voter list in an electronic, analyzable format.  A partial computer audit of polling station information and other publicly available election data was conducted.

  1. 5.      How accurate are the results?

The VRA is designed to be accurate to plus or minus two point five (2.5) per cent with a 95 per cent probability. That means it is 95 per cent certain we will be accurate to within two point five per cent of the final figure.


  1. 6.      What quality control measures were in place in the VRA?

In order to ensure the highest possible confidence in the VRA findings, NDI and its partners employed a number of quality control mechanisms for the data. These included: hands-on interviewer oversight by CAS supervisors in the field; a random, independent spot-check of approximately 25% of NICFEC interviewers by NDI and CAS auditors; data cleaning by NICFEC, CAS and NDI staff; a second re-check of all citizens who could not be found on the voter list during the People-to-List test; and a second re-check of individuals sampled from the List-to-People test who could not be located in person by NICFEC interviewers.


  1. 7.      Previous VRAs in Cambodia

In 2007 and 2008, NDI worked with partner organizations NICFEC, CAS and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) to conduct VRA I and VRA II. The most recent 2008 VRA showed some problems in the country’s voter list, particularly the incorrect deletion of 57,000 voters’ names from the list ahead of the 2008 National Assembly elections.  Findings from the 2007 and 2008 audits will inform analysis in VRA III to show progress or lack of progress on key indicators measuring the quality of the voter list in Cambodia.

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