29 Feb 2012
10.19m voters digitally registered
As of mid February 2012, the signatures, fingerprints and photographs of 10.19 million voters (10,190,689 citizens) have been digitallycaptured. The Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) started the nationwide voter registration of all citizens 16 years and above in September 2010 with the support of UNDP Election Support Project (ESP).
The adoption of this modern registration process and development of a voter list database with photograph and fingerprints supports clear identification of voters on the election-day, deterrence of false voting, ability to detect and remove duplicate registrations and locate internal migration of voters between locations.
In the past, evident flaws in the system gave rise to the increasing possibility of proxy voting. The introduction of this new technology is a major reform in the election process carried out in Nepal so far.
In March 2010, DFID and UNDP signed a cost sharing agreement of £961,823 (US$ 1.45m); in July 2010 the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP signed a cost sharing agreement of NOK 13,000,000 (US$ 2.14 m) and in September 2010, the Embassy of Denmark in Nepal and UNDP signed another cost sharing agreement of US$ 2.1m to support the ECN to implement the Voter List with Photograph Projectthrough the Election Support Project.
The fund was utilized for providing technical assistance including procurement of essential voter registration equipment such as laptops, finger print scanner and web camera and other accessories.
In January 2011, DFID and UNDP signed additional cost sharing agreement of US$ 0.59 m for further supporting the voter registration programme.
The additional support helped in setting up the Central Data Centre which stores all data, perform biometric matching, make the voter database available to other systems and processes, and facilitate loading and updating of voter list and maintaining a backup. It will also allow aggregation, cross referencing, qualitative assessment, cleaning and rationalization of the voter registration data.
The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) have come on board to conduct trainings on Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Election (BRIDGE) to make the election procedures more independent, impartial, transparent and professional.