[Sent to the Khmer Times and Phnom Penh Post on 15 November 2018. Published by the Post on 20 November.]
Dear Mr President,
The recent US elections have produced considerable controversy about parties on one side or the other allegedly rigging the results reported by computers. And then, in some cases, when a recount is conducted, the computers overheat and the recount can’t be completed.
I would like to suggest a way to end these problems. The US should adopt the Cambodian system of counting votes.
In Cambodian elections, the votes are counted by people, not by computers. Representatives of the parties involved are present and can check the count if they think the person counting has made a mistake. The ballots are retained in case anyone else might later want to have them checked again.
Having computers instead of people count ballots was introduced as a way of speeding up election results, but it hasn’t even done that. And anyway, surely a speedy result is not more important than an accurate result.
According to what I read, US educational standards have deteriorated in recent years. But I hope there are still enough US officials available who would be able to count ballots.
However, if US election officials require training in numeracy or other aspects of vote counting, the Cambodian government would probably be willing to provide some of its election officials on secondment to train US officials in these skills.
With this Cambodian assistance, the US might be able to conclude its next elections in a much less divisive atmosphere.