EC activities postponedThe Election Commission’s decision to print separate ballot papers for federal and provincial elections has forced the poll body to postpone a number of its planned activities.
The Election Commission’s decision to print separate ballot papers for federal and provincial elections has forced the poll body to postpone a number of its planned activities.
After the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission on October 25 to ensure separate ballot papers for the different first-past-the-post elections, the EC has asked the Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra to print different FPTP ballots.
The EC had initially planned to have both the ballots on a single sheet of paper for the polls scheduled to be held together in two phases.
According to EC officials, the new move delays the planned voter education programme by at least 10 days, ahead of the November 26 and December 7 polling days.
The election authority had planned to mobilise some 20,000 volunteers nationwide from November 1, arming them with election publicity materials.
“Now we have to reprint the materials including sample ballot papers, brochures and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) handbooks and some posters concerning the polls,” said EC Spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal.
As per the revised plans, volunteers will be appointed on November 7. They will be trained before being mobilised to each ward from November 11.
The existing publicity materials have been designed for holding the two elections using a single ballot paper. The volunteers will reach people’s doorsteps with information on how to cast vote properly.
The election authority has also postponed the October 29 orientation programme for youth leaders of political parties. The EC had planned to discuss the role of the youth leaders in successful elections. With the poll body required to print over 34 million ballot papers, election officials said they may have to procure additional paper. The EC also wants to have an additional ballot box at each polling booth besides the original two.
Information Officer Surya Prasad Aryal said the poll authority has more than 75,000 ballot boxes, which will be enough to be sent to the 19,809 polling centres. An estimated Rs50 million extra will be required for printing additional ballots.
Voter education has been deemed essential given the percentage of invalid votes in earlier elections.