How to vote correctly – ECB has it laid out

A Bhutanese who has a citizenship Identity Card and not younger than 18 years of age on the qualifying date of an election and enrolled in the electoral Roll of a particular Demkhong and possessing VPIC can vote in an election. In the current case, that will be the Primary round of the National Assembly (NA) elections.

A voter can vote only at a notified polling station of a Demkhong where his/her Mitsi (census) or Gung is registered for a period of not less than one year before the qualifying date and her/his name is enrolled in the Voters’ list. The name of the polling station designated to a voter is provided in the VPIC issued to him/her

On the poll day for “Primary round of election”, on entering polling booth a voter must first go to the polling officer to check his or her identity in the voters list by producing the Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC).

The poling officer will call out his/her name and serial number so that polling representatives are made aware of the voter. If the identity of the voter is not challenged, he/she can approach second polling officer. The second polling officer may record or register voters and mark the prescribed finger of the voter with indelible ink. Voters will sign or affix thumb impression in the register of voter list. The officer will than give the voter a signed voter slip.

Then the Voter should take the slip to the third polling officer who files the slip and presses the “Ballot Button” of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) while directing the voter to the voting compartment to cast his/her vote.

Inside the voting compartment a voter must press the Grey Button on the Balloting unit of the voting machine against “The symbol of the political party” of his/her choice (for the Primary round).

EVM is programmed to registered only one vote for each voter. When a “grey button” of his/her choice is pressed, “red lamp” will glow against the symbol of parties he/she had chosen. At the same time “beep sound” can be heard by all, indicating that the voter in the compartment has cast his/her vote and it has been recorded. The busy lamp will go off in the control unit which indicates the voting is done.

During the secret voting, no one is allowed to take photograph or witness a voter casting his/her votes and even polling officials or representatives, under any pretext, are not allowed to enter voting compartments.

A “physically-challenged” voter requires help, so he/she will be permitted to take a helper of his/her choice, who must be also eligible voter during the poll day.

Some of the precautions voters must keep in mind during polling day are, they must carry “New VPIC and CID card” to the polling station, voter should not drink , are not allowed to carry any weapons like knives, Fire lighter etc. A voter should come in National dress to polling stations and should be aware of time during the polling day that is (open at 9 A.M till 5 P.M).

The Election Commission of Bhutan has appointed officers from public services as Election Observers, Returning Officers, Presiding and Polling Officers and counting Supervisors to supervise and conduct elections.

Tshering Dorji/ Thimphu

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