Ballot papers ‘confusing’

May 15, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 15th May 2017, Kathmandu

Even as Sunday’s voting saw an estimated 73 percent turnout, many voters complained that they found the ballot papers confusing, fearing their vote being invalid.

Even young educated voters said they found it hard to grasp how to vote for two open category ward members in the final columns as a single symbol is assigned to one candidate and the same double symbol to the other.

“I stamped twice on the double symbol,” said Devi Maharjan of Godavari-6. Maharjan said she saw the ballot paper only on Sunday as no official came over to her to explain about it before the polls. Neha Panta, a Biotech student, was worried that her vote might be invalid. “The ballot paper was so big that I got really confused. Also, I found some of the symbols similar,” said Panta. “If an educated person like me struggled to cast my vote, many elderly and illiterate people must have faced a really tough time.”

Even voter educators deployed by the Election Commission were unable to teach voters clearly about the double symbol. For the votes to be valid, a voter has to stamp only once near each of the symbols.

Some complained that the ballot paper had to be folded several times before it fit into the box. They also reported problems with the stamp ink.