Voter education in Surkhet ineffective

  • In the civic polls, five per cent of the total votes were invalid in the district

Surkhet, November 15

The number of invalid ballots is likely to increase in the upcoming polls as the voter education programme has so far remained ineffective in Surkhet.

A large number of voters still lack a clear idea of how to cast their ballots properly as District Election Office, Surkhet, failed to deploy adequate number of volunteers to educate voters.

Earlier in the local level elections, five per cent of the total votes cast were invalid in the district. The procedure of casting ballots in the provincial and parliamentary elections is considered relatively more difficult.

Most voters from rural areas had deprived of voter education, as orientation programmes and symposiums were mainly focused on urban areas, including the district headquarters.

Only 263 volunteers were deployed to educate 204,577 voters in the district.

As per data, a volunteer is supposed to educate as many as 1,000 voters by reaching out to them at their doorsteps, which is practically next to impossible. The District Election Office has been conducting programmes such as training, orientation and mock elections with a view to reducing invalid votes during election in the district.

Returning Officer Sunita Thapa was of the view that the voter education programme had been ineffective due to lack of monitoring. She said, “Rather than ballot papers under the first-past-the-post category, those for proportional representation electoral system were likely to be used incorrectly.” Thapa informed that her office was coordinating with local levels for effective conduct and monitoring of voter education programme in the district.

Around 20,000 names were added to the voter list after the local level elections in the district. There are two constituencies for parliamentary polls and four for provincial polls, and a total of 263 voting centres in the district.