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NDI Response to NEC Press Release

March 29, 2013

NDI Response to NEC Press Release

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has responded directly to the National Election Committee (NEC) and clarified their apparent misunderstanding of the VRA findings and data.

Point 1:

NEC: “Those unclear points included the VRA report which shows that Identify Statement for Electoral Purpose was issued at 1.8%, around 10,000 forms. In fact, during the voter registry 2012, commune chief and sangkat chief had issued the Identity Statement for Electoral Purpose around 420,000 forms. This inaccurate number of the VRA leads to confusion and has bad effects on the election.”

NDI response: The data on the Statement of Identity for Electoral Purposes was simply reporting what respondents told us they used to register.  We did not track how many forms were distributed nor did we ask voters if they received one.

Point 2:

NEC: “The VRA report, from People-to-List, shows that only 82.9% of the voters were registered on the list. However, the same report shows that in List-to-People test:

–          Verified voters that exist in person is 63.6% are living in the commune/sangkat

–          Verified voters that exist, but mostly live in other area is 17.1%

–          Verified voters that exist, but relocated is 7.4%

–          Unknown voters is 10.4% (which those who conducted audit had called to village chief by phone)

Based on above data, the registered voters and has name on the list was around 90%.

By comparing the two numbers above, which had shown discrepancy, it is not a reliable data.”

NDI response:  This shows a lack of understanding of VRAs.  In the first, we are interviewing eligible citizens to see if they are on the list to measure comprehensiveness.  In the second, we are looking for people already on the list to see if they exist in person to measure currency.  Therefore, those two numbers cannot be logically combined or compared.  As can be seen in the 2008 VRA, the numbers between comprehensiveness and currency were also different numbers, as is the case in all VRAs done around the world.

Furthermore, the NEC is also misrepresenting the audit.  We did not conduct it by telephone.  Just to clarify, any unknown voters (10.4%) whom we were not able to verify in the list-to-people test, we first checked in person asking the village chief and other members of the community, including pagoda leaders, police, and residents.  In our second search/recheck, we either re-deployed observers or followed up by telephone to village chiefs for final confirmation.

Point 3:

NEC: “Furthermore, the report shows that 97% of the voters said that registry process was easy and simple, while only 1.3% that has no confidence in the registry process. According to the voters’ opinions above, the quality of 2012 voter list does not have lower quality than 2008 voter list as the conclusion made by the 3 organizations.”

NDI: Again, the NEC is confusing different things.  If one reads our presentation, it is clear that the 97% refers to those who are on the registry not all eligible citizens in the sample, including those who are not on the registry.  If they are on the registry, it’s likely they found the process simple.  Furthermore, the opinions of citizens are a completely different matter than scientific measurements on the quality of the list by examining three key indicators for a voters list (comprehensiveness, currency/validity, and accuracy).

Point 4:

NEC requests for names.

NDI:  Because this is a sample-based study, looking at individual cases from the research, and even addressing them, will not solve any problems for the voter registry.  Furthermore, because of the confidentiality agreement we had with respondents, NDI is ethically not able to share this information.   Again, this is common practice for VRAs around the world.

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