More than 2000 postal bal­lots re­jected in pri­mary round of elec­tions

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

More than 2,000 postal bal­lots were re­jected across the coun­try dur­ing the pri­mary round of elec­tions this year.

A to­tal of 133,795 vot­ers had reg­is­tered for postal bal­lot for the pri­mary round of elec­tions.

Around 1,300 postal bal­lots were re­jected while sort­ing out en­ve­lope A and around 700 were re­jected while count­ing en­ve­lope B dur­ing the poll day count­ing. In­side en­ve­lope A con­tains en­ve­lope B and Iden­tity Dec­la­ra­tion Cer­tifi­cate (IDC). En­ve­lope B con­tains only the se­cret bal­lot pa­per.

The head of postal bal­lot unit of Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB), Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing said that the re­jec­tion of postal bal­lots while sort­ing en­ve­lope A which hap­pens two days be­fore the poll day was mainly be­cause IDC in en­ve­lope A was miss­ing as vot­ers had sealed their IDC with the bal­lot pa­per in­side en­ve­lope B.

He also said the other rea­sons for postal bal­lot re­jec­tion were that vot­ers had in­com­plete and mis­match­ing in­for­ma­tion in the IDC form while some vot­ers had not signed, or did not have wit­ness of a com­pe­tent per­son.

Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing said that re­jec­tion dur­ing the count­ing of en­ve­lope B dur­ing the poll day is mainly be­cause of the some vot­ers hav­ing un­marked or mul­ti­ple tick mark­ings.

He said that the most com­mon is­sues of re­jec­tions were due to mul­ti­ple mark­ing and pack­ing IDC with en­ve­lope B.

“Though we cre­ate aware­ness on process of send­ing postal bal­lots, still there are re­jec­tions of the postal bal­lots be­cause some of the vot­ers are care­less,” he said.

How­ever, he said as com­pared to pre­vi­ous elec­tions the re­jec­tion of postal bal­lots were less be­cause of the fa­cil­i­ta­tion booth. Pre­sid­ing of­fi­cials helped the vot­ers to place and seal the en­velopes.

“There were also few re­jec­tions from fa­cil­i­ta­tion booths be­cause of mul­ti­ple mark­ings,” Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing said.

In case of over­seas postal bal­lots, the com­mis­sion has ap­pointed au­tho­rized postal bal­lot fo­cal of­fi­cers where there is more num­ber of Bhutanese liv­ing. ECB autho­rizes one par­tic­u­lar per­son to han­dle the postal bal­lot pack­ages.

Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing said that the postal charges are paid by com­mis­sion for the over­seas postal bal­lot.

Au­tho­rized postal bal­lot fo­cal per­son then col­lects the postal bal­lots and post it.

He said that fo­cal per­son is mainly ap­pointed to cut down the postal charges. It costs around USD 69 for each postal bal­lot pack­age to post for a one way to coun­try like Aus­tralia, the United States and Euro­pean coun­tries. The fo­cal per­son col­lects the postal bal­lot and posts it in bulk in which will be much cheaper through fastest mode, he added.

How­ever, for a coun­try where there is only few Bhutanese peo­ple, a fo­cal per­son is not ap­pointed and an in­di­vid­ual has to post back the postal bal­lot through his own ex­penses and some­times it get de­layed.

Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing said that an is­sue with over­sea postal bal­lots is that some of the postal bal­lots do not reach on poll day and they are not counted.

Out of the to­tal vot­ers reg­is­tered for postal bal­lots, around 25,000 vot­ers did not turn up to vote.

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