Observers urge EC to focus on better voter education

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 27, 2017-A number of poll observers, including those from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have urged the Election Commission on voter’s education and proper management of the polling centres.

The NHRC, which had deployed 27 teams for monitoring the first phase of polls, has pointed out that many senior citizens, differently-abled and pregnant voters could not exercise their franchise as they had to walk for 4-5 hours to reach the nearest polling centres. 

“Due to the lack of voter education at some polling centres, voters could not reached even by 2pm,” NHRC spokesperson Mohna Ansari said in a press statement issued 

after the polls. The NHRC has also observed that most of the polling stations were not disabled-friendly.

The National Election Observation Committee (NEOC) has said that many voters were denied their voting rights as their names were not on the voters’ list despite having voter’s identity cards. 

Out of the 269 polling centres observed, 17 (or just over 6 percent) turned away a number of voters with voter IDs because their names were not on the voters’ list, according to the NEOC. It has also reported a few cases of intimidation, attempts to influence voters and attempts to vote more than once. 

It has expected fewer invalid votes this time around because of better ballot papers compared to the local level polls earlier this year.

In its preliminary report, the NEOC has observed that 87.3 percent of the polling centres opened before 7:30am, 12 percent of polling locations had campaign materials within 300 metres and 98.6 percent of the polling centres had their ballot boxes properly marked.

Following observations on Sunday, the Informal Sector Service Centre (Insec) reported that suffering of the disabled voters while coming to cast their ballot and delays in voting and improper arrangements of polling booths at some centres, causing inconvenience to the voters.

Insec has also observed that voters in mountainous districts suffered a lot as the elections were called at a time when weather in many of these places begins to deteriorate. 

Besides, the voting could not begin on time while many polling stations remained out of contact, it said in a statement. In Dhading, political parties had transported voters in vehicles to a polling centre in the district headquarters, Insec noted.

Published: 27-11-2017 07:33

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