EC to discuss use of EVMs with parties

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 27, 2017-

The Election Commission (EC) is planning to hold discussions with the political parties on the possible use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at least in the Federal Parliamentary elections.

A high-level EC team, which visited Indian manufacturers recently, has recommended that the Indian-made EVMs can be used in Nepal’s upcoming elections as they have a capacity to accommodate upto 384 parties. More than 130 parties are currently registered with the EC. 

EC’s plan to use Indian EVMs in the 2013 Constituent Assembly Election fell through as they could only accommodate a maximum of 64 parties.

However, the team which had visited India’s two state-owned manufacturers of EVMs—Bharat Electronic Limited, Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India, Hyderabad—also informed the EC that the companies could only deliver the machines five months after receiving the orders.

Using EVMs in the upcoming elections is challenging because of the time constraints, admit EC officials. The poll body has just four months in hand to conduct elections for Provincial Parliament, National Assembly and House of Representatives. It had proposed to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba that all three tiers of elections should be held by third week of November.

“As the manufacturers have sought five months for delivery of the machines, we will try to use EVMs in at least one of the elections provided the political parties give their consent,” said Dahal. 

The EC officials believe that the Indian manufacturers could fast-track the manufacturing and delivery process if an order is placed at the earliest. EC team members, who visited the EVM manufacturers in India, told the Post 

that they were not informed about the price 

The poll body wants to use EVMs to reduce the high percentage of invalid votes witnessed in the last two rounds of the local level elections. The machines can be used for early vote results at a time when the ballot counting process has been too slow.

The EC has around 1,000 EVMs manufactured by two Indian companies that were donated by India.  The EC first used EVMs in Kathmandu Constituency 1 in 2008. After no complaints were received about their performance, the machines were used in subsequent by-elections.

Prior to holding the local elections, the EC had attempted to purchase EVMs from the UK-based Smartmatic. But the move was aborted due to a controversy over possible financial embezzlement.

Published: 27-07-2017 07:27

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