EVM use ruled out in upcoming polls

- Post Report, Kathmandu
EC says there would be little time to teach people how to vote electronically even if procurement is rushed

Aug 19, 2017-The Election Commission has ruled out the possibility of using electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the upcoming provincial and federal parliamentary elections after it failed to convince three major parties for the same.

The election body wrote to the government on August 11 asking it to purchase the machines. But during a meeting between senior leaders of three major parties--Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre)—and election officials on Thursday, the EC failed to convince the parties.

Election officials said the poll authority and the parties concluded that purchasing EVMs needs more time and since it is a new thing for almost all the voters, there would be little time to educate people on their use even if procurement is rushed.

Instead, they reached an understanding to use two ballot papers--one for the first-past-the-post and another for proportional representation system for both the provincial and federal parliamentary elections.

“This is a tentative understanding,” said Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, adding, however, that no decision on EVMs had been taken. The government has yet to respond to the EC’s letter.

According to election officials, convincing all the parties on EVMs, placing an order and getting delivery of EVMs, using them for voter education and finally using them for the polls will need more time than currently available.

The EC agreed to hold both the elections together as proposed by the parties but plans to hold them in two phases--first on November 20 and second on December 7. It means there is only three months to go for the elections.

“We cannot use EVMs in the two elections due to various factors. So we reached an understanding with the parties about using two ballot papers as an alternative,” 

said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal.

The EC might have to print around 70 million ballots if a voter were to use four sheets, which, according to election officials, is near impossible within the given time.

Published: 19-08-2017 07:42

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