Nepal | November 13, 2019

Poll duty to deprive lakhs of right to vote

EC says it didn’t have time to issue voter IDs to govt staff on poll duty

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, October 24

Over half a million civil servants, teachers, security personnel, judges and other government employees deployed on election duty will not be able to cast their votes in the provincial and parliamentary elections slated for November 26 and December 7.

In the first and second Constituent Assembly elections, government employees deployed on poll duty had the chance to vote under proportional representation electoral system, as the EC had issued them temporary voter identity cards and had also set up temporary polling centres for them. The EC said due to time constraint they could not arrange temporary voter identity cards or set up temporary polling centres for government employees deployed on poll duty, said EC Information Officer Surya Prasad Aryal.

The EC said it had deployed over five lakh personnel, including civil servants, teachers, security personnel, judges and other government staffers for provincial and parliamentary elections. Of them, 1.5 lakh are government employees and teachers, over one lakh are temporary police personnel and the rest are members of Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police.

Aryal said teachers would not be able to vote, as they would be deployed in local levels other than their own and would work till 5:00pm on the voting day, having no chance to go to their own local levels to cast their votes.

According to Aryal, elderly people staying in old age homes would also not be able to vote from their homes as they did in the first and second CA elections.

In the past CA elections, the EC had provided temporary voters’ IDs to government employees deployed for poll duty and the inhabitants of old age homes and had also set up temporary polling centres in the barracks of the army and police, old age homes and cantonments of Maoist combatants.

Aryal, however, said that employees and security personnel working in their home districts could cast their votes. “We had 156 days to prepare for the second CA election, which was enough to manage temporary voter ID and polling centres,” said Aryal, adding that the EC got only 92 days to prepare for provincial and parliamentary elections this time.

According to Aryal, the EC had been struggling to follow its calendar to hold elections on the stipulated dates. He said Dashain,Tihar and Chhath also hit poll preparations.

There are over 15.4 million eligible voters in the country. Over 74 per cent of them cast their votes in the recently held local level elections.


A version of this article appears in print on October 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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