No facilitation booths to cut costs – ECB

The poll day for the National Council Elections is on the 20th of next month. And if you are not a civil servant, student, armed force personnel or working abroad on government duty, then you need to visit the designated polling stations to vote. This is because the Election Commission will not provide facilitation booths as a cost-cutting measure.

According to the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, diplomats and persons working in embassies, people residing abroad on special government duty, civil servants, members of the armed forces, students and trainees, those on election duty, and dependents of diplomats and persons working in the embassies, and civil servants are eligible for postal ballot.

ECB’s Director of Secretariat, Phub Dorji said those who are not included in these categories will not be eligible for postal ballots.

Moreover, the commission will not be providing the facilitation booths. The facilitation booths were initiated in 2018 to facilitate the registered postal voters and reduce the incidence of postal ballot rejection.

“Now we thought this is the opportunity where people who reside in the town will have the opportunity or reassign to go and actually see your constituency. So, people must wait or they can take the election as a reason to go,” said Phub Dorji.

Nevertheless, the commission is optimistic about a good voter turnout.

“Earlier three rounds of parliamentary elections and three rounds of local government elections, that period of maturity of Bhutanese about the democracy and importance of the elections, and voting, we always look forward that the voter turnout will be better each time but we cannot guarantee it. It depends on how people take it. But our understanding now is that our people are maturing, our people are taking more interest, as a factor we are looking forward to better voter turnout,” added Phub Dorji.

The registration for postal ballots will end on Wednesday.

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