Madhav Aryal, The Kathmandu Post, 22 Nov 2017
Many voters living in rural parts of Palpa district have said they do not know how to cast their votes in the upcoming elections as the District Education Office has still not sent voter educators to their areas.
The elections for provincial and federal parliaments are taking place in this Province 5 district on December 7.
“No one has arrived in our settlement to teach us how to vote,” said Tikaram Rana of Gopaldi in Baganaskali-9. “We don’t know when the volunteers will come.”
Another 70-year-old Ishwori Gahatraj of Humin in Rhambha-4 had a similar concern.
“I don’t know about the ballot papers. I have only heard that the election date is approaching,” said Gahatraj.
The Election Commission (EC) this time has arranged green ballot papers for federal elections and black ballot papers for provincial elections under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. The EC has printed red ballot papers for the PR system. But, voters in rural parts of Palpa are unaware about these arrangements.
According to the EC, the invalid vote percentage for the local elections, which were held on May 14, June 28 and September 18, stood at 12.5 percent. In the second Constituent Assembly elections, of the 13,341 votes cast in the district, 2,997 votes were counted invalid.
Netra Prasad Pandey, leader of CPN (Maoist Centre), said that voters did not know how many ballot papers have been prepared for the upcoming elections.
“The candidates have reached villages to canvass for votes, but the voters are unknown about voting procedure,” said Pandey.
Thaneshwor Timilsena, ward chairman of Baganaskali-9, said volunteers should reach rural parts of villages to teach people how to vote.
“Since all people do not have access to newspapers and radios, the volunteers should reach to their doorsteps and teach them how to vote in the elections,” said Timilsena.
According to the District Election Office, it has deployed 226 volunteers to carry out voter education in Palpa.
Thaman Bahadur Saru, information officer at the DEO, said the volunteers shall soon reach the rural areas of the district to teach people about the voting procedure.
There are 226 voting centres in the district.