Mission: No invalid votesNov 9, 2017
In a bid to reduce the number of invalid votes in the upcoming elections, the Election Commission Nepal has been conducting voter education training-of-trainers events, including a recent one in Janakpur
Voter education continues to be a challenge in the Nepal’s electoral process. And in this regard, the Election Commission Nepal (ECN) has identified reducing the percentage of invalid votes as one of the main issues to be addressed for upcoming State Assembly and House of Representatives elections
Both elections are scheduled to held together in two phases and voters will have to mark four votes in two ballot papers. The state level of government is new in Nepal and in recent weeks several political parties have fused and forged new alliances, so there is much new information for voters to absorb.
With the objective of reducing number of invalid votes in the upcoming elections, ECN with assisitance from UNDP’s Electoral Support Project (ESP) organized a two-day voter education training-of-trainer events on 14 and 15 October in seven provinces. In the programme organized in Janakpurdham, resource person Pradeep Bhattarai said that the training would serve to familiarize local trainers with legal provisions related to the elections as well as the polling procedure.
Participants expressed that the training had proven fruitful in preparing for the upcoming polls, such as Indira Yadav from Siraha who said she now had enhanced knowledge regarding different electoral systems.
“We found that mock polling is the best medium to teach the correct method of voting, so we should give the utmost priority to conducting this exercise in as many communities as possible”, shared Sabita Lamichhane from Makwanpur, another participant.
In addition to door-to-door voter education via social mobilizers—20,000 of whom are being trained in a cascade manner and are to be deployed around the country--which remains the core strategy of the ECN, the Commission is also organizing mock polling events, voter education through street dramas and programmes on radio and television, among other mediums.