EC plans ‘better’ voter education for Phase II polls

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

May 19, 2017-The Election Commission has made it mandatory for volunteers to produce evidence that they reached the doorstep of every voter.

They should collect the signature of a member after teaching a family how to cast the vote. Many voters had complained that volunteers did not reach them before the first phase of local elections.

As the EC mobilises 11,823 volunteers from Friday for the second phase of local polls, it wants to make sure that volunteers reach the homes of all voters.

Ineffective voter education, large ballot papers and a high number of election symbols are blamed to have confused voters that led to a higher number of invalid votes. 

The EC was forced to prepare large ballot papers as it had to assume the number of parties contesting the elections.

After the candidates are announced, they get only 15 days for campaigning as per the Local Level Election Act. It means the EC will have no time to print and deliver ballot papers after the number of candidates is confirmed.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav admitted on Wednesday that there would be a higher percentage of invalid votes in the first phase of local polls compared to the past elections.

According to the EC, about two percent of ballot papers were declared invalid when counting was over in 115 local units.

The election body does not want this to repeat in the second-phase elections scheduled for June 14. The elections will now be held for 461 local units in 41 districts of provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7.

Providing voter education with actual ballot paper is expected to help erase confusion among the voters. “We expect this will make voter education effective,” said Dhakal. 

The EC has also decided to mobilise trained resource persons to educate students on voting. “Reaching out to Plus Two students could be more helpful as most of them are first-time voters and they can also teach their family members how to vote,” said Dhakal. The election authority will mobilise two resource persons in each college.

Ink to be changed

KATHMANDU: The Election Commission is considering changing the ink for the second phase of elections because the blue ink used to print the election symbols and for the swastika stamps made counting tedious. “Talks are ongoing to change the ink,” said EC Spokesperson Surya Sharma. (PR)

Published: 19-05-2017 08:16

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