Way to vote: Marking, not stamping

January 21, 2018

The Kathmandu Post, 21 Jan 2018 

Voters will be using pen to mark their vote instead of the usual Swastika stamp in the upcoming National Assembly election due to the single transferable voting system.

There will be a total of 2,056 voters—550 provincial assembly members and 1,506 chiefs and deputy chiefs of the local level. Their names will be published on Sunday, as the first move in the Upper House elections, according to the Election Commission.

As provisioned in the ordinance on National Assembly (NA) elections, at least three women, one Dalit, one from the disabled or minority communities and three members from the open category are elected to the Upper House from each province.

While voting for three women or three candidates from the open category, a voter should mark 1 in favour of the candidate who is preferred as the first choice and 2 for the candidate of second choice. The voter marks 3 for the third preferred candidate in the box beside the candidate’s name and election symbol.

A total of 42, out of the 56, NA members to be elected by the electoral college of Provincial Assembly members, and chiefs and deputy chiefs of the local governments are elected under the two categories.

The candidates who are the first choice of most voters are prioritised for election, said an election official. While counting the ballots, a quota is determined first, based on the votes of first priority received by each candidate. “If the first priority votes received by a candidate are more than the quota, the candidate is declared elected,” states the regulation.

In case of no candidate getting the votes equivalent to the quota with first priority votes, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes is removed from the counting process with the vote received by such candidate given to the second priority candidate—one receiving the second highest number of first priority votes. In this process, any candidate receiving votes more than the quota is declared winner. But the votes on the ballot paper where first priority has been indicated but not the second priority are not transferred.

The votes of the ballot papers where first priority and third priority have been indicated but not the second priority are also not transferred. In the case of candidate from Dalit and disabled or minority groups, where single candidate is elected from each category, the candidate getting the highest votes is elected.

The upper House consists of 59 members—56 elected by the electoral college of Provincial Assembly members and local government representatives with the remaining three appointed by the president on the government’s recommendation.