Print Edition - 2017-05-11  |  Local Elections

Confusion still reigns among voters

  • voter education

May 11, 2017-

With hardly four days left for the election day, confusion still reigns among many voters in the Chautara Sangagadhi Chowk Municipality, the headquarters of Sindhupalchok district, over voting process in the local elections. 

Poll campaigners of the parties have told the voters that they have to vote in seven different places on the ballot paper. However, they have no clue as to why they have to vote in seven places.

Each day, leaders of various political parties would visit the voters’ doorsteps and ask to stamp in seven places beside their election symbols, but no one would explain what each of the votes mean. The voters in the last two Constitution Assembly elections cast their votes, marking two ballot papers--one for first-past-the-post and the other for proportional representation. 

“I don’t know why we have to vote in seven different places this time around, while putting stamps on two places was enough in the past,” said Shir Bahadur Tamang, 65, from Jalkini of the municipality. 

No one has bothered to come to voters like Tamang to explain that each of the votes are for different positions, ranging from mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman, two ward members (open), one women member and one Dalit women. 

“Leaders coming to us just say the votes will be invalid if we don’t vote in all seven places,” said Surka Bir Tamang, 57, from Syaule in the municipality. He is oblivious about the fact the voters can actually cast their ballots for different parties in different positions. A tell-tale sign that many voters have not been educated about the proceedings of the local level elections. Officials from the District Election Commission, however, lamented that they had been trying everything they could to educate the voters in the district. 

Bijay Kumar Karki, chief of the District Election Committee, told the Post that they had conducted voter education in different places, using posters and pamphlets with information on how to vote. He also said that they were using social media, like Youtube, where multimedia contents have been posted to educate the voters. “We also have requested the political parties to help us on educating people,” Karki said, adding that they would try their best to educate the voters when they come to collect their voter identity. 

“Despite all our efforts, I agree there have been some lapses,” Karki conceded. The lack of proper voter education has led to the fear that the number of invalid votes could increase. Around 5 percent of votes cast became invalid in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013.

Published: 11-05-2017 07:59

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