Ineffective voters' education in remote areas likely to increase invalid votes

Published On: November 22, 2017 04:15 AM NPT By: Sarita Shrestha

DHADING, Nov 22: With very little time left for the parliamentary and provincial polls, the voters in rural parts of Dhading are still unaware of the voting process. Locals in northern parts of the district are deprived of voter education, raising concerns over the number of invalid votes.

Khomaya Tamang of Ruby Valley-4, Lapa, has no idea how he will cast his ballot in the elections. He is not even aware that there will be three ballot papers in elections. The district will witness the elections on November 26. 

"Neither the candidates have informed us about the voting process nor the election officers have reached here," said Khomaya, adding, "In each election, I cast vote without knowing the voters and the parties. I have just been fulfilling formalities while casting votes but I'm not sure whether my votes have been valid or not."

According to the locals, poll candidates and political party leaders conducted mass assemblies in the villages and urged the locals to vote for them but forgot to inform them about the voting process. Despite taking part in several elections, Marichman Tamang of Tipling still has no idea about the voting process. "A lot of people like me don't know how to vote and where to vote,” he said.

They will be casting votes on the basis of the information they get from radio and television. Voters will have to walk for days to reach the polling booths to cast votes as there are no roads in Tipling. Even the election officers are obliged to walk for three days to reach here and this is the reason why voters' education has not been effective in the district.

According to Anusha Ghale, election officer deployed in Ruby Valley-3, Sertung, difficult topography, lack of transportation and time pressure are some of the reasons why officials have not been able to provide voters' education in the rural parts. 

"We don't have much time left for elections and it's hard for us to reach some of the villages which are far and are not connected by roads," she said.

Not just the locals in remote areas but the locals in the district headquarters also complain that they have been deprived of voters' education. Though the Election Commission (EC) has spent millions of rupees for recruiting election officers, voters' education is still not effective in several places.

The District Election Office, Dhading has mobilized 275 election officers in the district for voters' education. As informed by District Election Officer Ishwor Simkhada, some of the voters won't be able to receive voters' education due to time limit as the election is just around the corner.  


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