Chandan Kumar Mandal, The Kathmandu Post, 8 Dec 2017
Amid worries of a high percentage of invalid votes due to each voter having to stamp on three ballot papers, people appeared to have voted confidently in the second phase of the joint federal and provincial elections on Thursday.
A large number of votes were declared invalid during the local level elections held earlier.
According to the Election Commission, 12.5 percent votes were wasted in the local elections as voter education was thought to have been ineffective while voters had to vote in seven columns on large ballots.
A septuagenarian couple, Subhadra Risal and Keshav Prasad Risal--voters in the Kathmandu-4 constituency--said they were not confused how to vote on Thursday. “There were more ballot papers than in previous elections, increasing the chances of mistakes. But it was not difficult,” said Subhadra, who was walking her husband Keshav Prasad home from the Indra Dhanush English Boarding School polling centre.
A few days ago, a group of volunteers had reached their house to explain how to vote, said Keshav Prasad, who was taking support as he could not walk properly.
Some voters said watching election related materials on TV helped them. “I saw election advertisements on TV which definitely helped me,” said Komal Joshi from Kathmandu-4.
Gopi Khadka (38), who voted at the Ved Vidyashram polling centre in Kathmandu-4, said volunteers had visited her locality to teach the proper way of voting. Besides, volunteers at the polling booth gave clear instructions to everyone, she added.
According to the EC, 19,908 volunteers were mobilised to show people how to vote. The EC had posted ballot papers on its website for both the first-past-the-post and proportional representation elections.
Literate adults in urban areas like Kathmandu Valley are believed to have voted with ease.