EC concerned over voters’ ID distributionAmid ongoing dispute between political parties, the Election Commission (EC) has expressed doubt as to whether voters’ identity cards could be distributed to all eligible voters on time for the May 14 local level elections.
Amid ongoing dispute between political parties, the Election Commission (EC) has expressed doubt as to whether voters’ identity cards could be distributed to all eligible voters on time for the May 14 local level elections.
The election body has planned to distribute the ID cards over three days starting from May 11.
There 14,054,482 eligible voters across the country, according to the EC. It has completed printing voters’ ID cards for 45 districts so far.
During a discussion at the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee on Sunday, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said it would be difficult for the election body to ensure timely distribution of voters’ ID cards amid uncertain political situation.
An announcement of a protest programme, including general strike beginning May 10, by the Sanghiya Gathabandhan has only fuelled the EC fears.
With the poling officers expected to reach the polling centres by May 10, the EC is planning to deliver the voters’ ID cards beginning that day. “The polling officers have been authorised to distribute the voters’ ID cards from May 10 itself.
If that is not possible, the distribution will begin the next day,” said Election Commissioner Ishwori Prasad Poudel. “The polling officers will take decisions once they reach the polling stations.”
According to the EC, the concerned voter or any of his/her family members could collect the voters’ ID cards from the polling stations.
The election body has made ID cards with photographs mandatory for casting a vote in the upcoming elections. While the move is expected to reduce duplication of voters, a delay in distribution of ID cards could result in all the eligible voters not being able to receive them.
The EC is setting up 21,000 polling stations across the country for the local polls. The lawmakers, however, expect the card distribution process would not be an issue. “3-4 days should be enough for distributing ID cards for average 1,000 voters through a polling station where they will be voting,” said lawmaker Ananda Dhungana.
The EC had distributed voters’ ID cards late for the second Constituent Assembly (CA) elections on November 19, 2013.
According to the report of the Carter Centre, which monitored the second CA polls, the card distribution had started on November 14. The ID cards were ultimately distributed at polling centres in the days leading up to Election Day but, for the most part, not on Election Day itself.