Number of Eligible Voters Increased While Armenia's Population Dwindling

http://massispost.com/?p=5983
Friday, March 30th, 2012

YEREVAN - The number of eligible voters officially registered in
Armenia has increased by nearly seven percent since the last national
election four years ago, according to the voter lists updated ahead of
the upcoming parliamentary polls.

The voter rolls posted on the official websites of the Armenian Police
and the Central Election Commission show that the number of people in
Armenia allowed to vote in the May 6 elections is just over 2,485,000
- an increase by more than 165,000 voters as compared to the official
figure reported before the 2008 presidential election.

Many believe that such a growth is impossible given the rate of
emigration, as well as the preliminary data of the census taken last
year, according to which Armenia's permanent population has dwindled
by some 415,000 to around 2,870,000 over the 10-year period. They also
challenge the assumption that only less than 400,000 people in the
country are actually below Armenia's national voting age of 18.

Meanwhile, head of the Passport and Visa Department of the Armenian
Police Hovannes Kocharian dismissed the speculation about any kind of
deliberate distortion of the electoral rolls to meet the interests of
the ruling political force or any other groups. He explained the
essential rise in the number of voters by a more meticulous
registration of citizens in Armenia in the past four years.

`A total of 359,614 voters, who weren't on the 2008 lists, have been
added to the register by this year,' he said.
By the time the Police in its statement published on Thursday insist
that the assumptions about the figure's being exaggerated `do not
correspond to reality,' information to the contrary had been posted on
Facebook.

Edgar Tamaryan, 25, a Facebook user, found his relatives - who in fact
live in Georgia - included on the voter registration list as living in
Yerevan.
Further, more than 100 people were `registered' as living at that same address.

Opposition groups have cast doubts over the veracity of the electoral
rolls presented by the authorities. They again accuse the government
of trying to rig the vote by inflating the official number of
registered voters.