KATHMANDU, May 17: Concerned with the tediously slow vote counting process, the Election Commission (EC) has instructed returning officers to expedite vote counting by involving maximum available human resources and representatives of political parties in all 281 local units where votes were cast on Sunday.
“We have written to them [returning officers] to speed up vote counting after our verbal instructions could not make substantive progress in accelerating vote counting,” said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal.
A board meeting of the EC on Tuesday instructed the chief returning officers and returning officers of the local units to adopt all possible measures to complete vote counting in time.
“Now onward, they can mobilize available civil servants in the districts and parties also should name their representatives for vote counting in multiple places,” said Dahal.
Large-size ballot papers, repeated disputes among the parties over validity of votes and multiple symbols have slowed the vote counting process. Protests have erupted in some places over the delay in vote count. Poll observers say it could take months to complete vote counting if the returning officers do not take any extra measures for concluding the counting on time.
Anticipating the possible delay in vote counting, election experts had suggested to begin vote counting on the spot once the voting was over. The suggestion, however, was not implemented.
The EC had formulated election guidelines to begin vote counting only after collecting ballot boxes from polling centers. The EC was struggling to collect ballot boxes until Tuesday morning. Helicopters and poll workers were mobilized in mountainous districts while four-wheelers were also used to collect ballot boxes.