Local Level Elections (Voting) Directive, 2022 empowers the returning officer to deny the entry of a drunken voter into the polling centre.

"If a voter comes to the polling centre under the influence of alcohol, the returning officer shall refuse to allow him/her to exercise voting rights," says Section 60 of the directive. Similarly, anyone except security personnel carrying batons, spears, khukuris, rifles, pistols and other home-made weapons will not be allowed to enter into the polling centre and will be held by security personnel immediately.

Similarly, the concerned returning officers shall have to publish a notice about the ban on sale and distribution of liquor with effect from the beginning of the silence period to the completion of voting. The directive also prohibits voters to carry camera, mobile phone, acid, lighter, and matches to the polling centre while exercising their vote. It requires the voters to switch off their mobile phones prior to entering the polling centre. Likewise, the returning officer shall not allow the entry of an election candidate or his/ her representative into the vote counting venue if they are found to have drunk or are intoxicated with psychoactive substances.

"Any person who inhibits voting process or encourages other to do so, shall be taken into police custody to initiate legal action under the existing Elections (Offences and Punishment) Act," the directive says. If any person or group stops the voters on their way to polling centre on the suspicion that they are going to vote for any candidate and allows the passage of only those who support a particular candidate, it will be considered a capture of the polling centre.

In such circumstance, the district election officer may cancel such voting on the recommendation of the returning officer and announce date for re-voting in that polling centre.

According to the Election Commission, there are 17,733,723 eligible voters for the civic polls scheduled for May 13. They include 8,992,010 men, 8,741,530 women and 183 others.

Morang has the highest number with 715,223 voters, while Manang counts the lowest number with 6,416 voters. Jhapa and Kathmandu are ranked second and third with the highest number of voters respectively, while Mustang and Dolpa are the districts with second and third lowest number of voters respectively.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 10, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.