EC to fast-track vote counting

December 06, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 6 Dec 2017 

The Election Commission (EC) has said it has made arrangements in such a way that counting of the first-past-the-post votes will be completed in four days and that of the proportional representation votes in eight days.

Voting for the second phase of federal parliament and provincial assembly elections will be held on Thursday in 45 districts. The first phase polls were held in 32 districts on November 26, but vote counting is yet to start.

The poll body said vote counting for the first phase of polls will start immediately after the second phase elections are over on Thursday. Counting of votes of the second phase will start as soon as ballot boxes arrive at the respective district headquarters.

“We are confident that the counting could be completed, if there is no obstacle or setback, within the set deadline,” said Election Commissioner Ishwori Prasad Poudel at a press meet on Tuesday.

The poll body had faced criticism for slow counting after the local elections.

According to the EC, four separate teams will count FPTP and PR votes. Each vote counting team comprising seven members will work round the clock in three shifts. A team is expected to count 3,000 votes during its eight-hour shift, according to EC officials.

If it is not feasible to count all the votes at the same time due to lack of space, votes of both elections under the FPTP system will be counted first. If vote counting of both elections under the FPTP category cannot be done simultaneously, counting for the federal parliament will be done first, according to the EC.

‘Counting centres to be tightly secured’

The Election Commission (EC) has said candidates, their representatives, journalists and government staffers must undergo a thorough security check before entering the vote counting centres. The EC said it has arranged separate areas for party representatives. They have to maintain a certain distance from the vote counting area and will be barred from getting closer to or touching the ballot papers. “We have also ordered to install CCTV cameras wherever possible,” said Election Commissioner Ishowri Prasad Poudel at a press meet in the Capital on Tuesday. During the local level elections, CPN (Maoist Centre) representatives had allegedly torn 90 ballot papers while counting of votes of Bharatpur-19 was underway. The poll body had conducted re-election in the concerned ward later.