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Carter Center Notes Progress in Nepal's Ongoing Voter Registration Process, Offers Suggestions to Address Key Challenges Ahead

Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes, +1 404-420-5124; 
In Kathmandu, Sarah Levit-Shore, +977 985 110 0712

KATHMANDU…In a report released today, Carter Center observers found that overall the Election Commission of Nepal's (ECN) voter registration process is moving forward, despite delays.   
"The Carter Center is encouraged that the Election Commission of Nepal is working to improve the credibility and comprehensiveness of the voter roll and we hope that Nepalis will take advantage of this opportunity to assert their right to register and vote," said David Pottie, associate director of the Center's Democracy Program.
The report, available at, commends the positive efforts undertaken by the ECN thus far to ensure that all Nepalis who wish to register to vote are provided with the opportunity to do so. It also details political, legal, and administrative challenges facing the ECN regarding voter registration targets, obstructions by political parties, turnout in the municipal registration phase, voter eligibility requirements and barriers to registration, and the voter registration timeline.  
Voter registration is being conducted in multiple phases: an initial municipalities phase (completed September-December 2010), an interim "bridging" phase (completed December -March 2011), and a nationwide phase (launched in March 2011 and scheduled to continue through the end of June 2011).  
The Carter Center hopes that the ECN will benefit from the report's assessment and build on its efforts to promote greater access and opportunity for all Nepalis who wish to register to vote.

Read the First Interim Statement on the Election Commission of Nepal's "Voter Registration with Photograph" Program (PDF) >  कृपया नेपालीमा पढ्नुहोस्
Read the Summary of Observation Findings on the Election Commission of Nepal's "Voter Registration with Photograph" Program (PDF) >  कृपया नेपालीमा पढ्नुहोस्

Summary of Key Recommendations
The Government of Nepal should:

  • Increase efforts to issue citizenship certificates to all eligible Nepali citizens,
  • Make all efforts to support the ECN in the ongoing voter registration process, and
  • Fill vacant posts at the ECN.

The Election Commission of Nepal should:

  • Consider extending the existing timeline for voter registration,
  • Ensure voter registration turnout targets are in line with population data,
  • Consider re-opening voter registration in areas affected by political party obstructions,
  • Consider further amending proof of migration requirements to reduce barriers to proving voter eligibility, and
  • Ensure voter education efforts are conducted well in advance of enumeration and registration.

Political parties and civil society organizations should:

  • Use proper legal channels to raise their grievances instead of obstructing the voter registration process, and ensure that their protests are peaceful and
  • Play a more active and supportive role in the voter registration process, including encouraging citizens to register and supporting voter education efforts.

Working to support peace in Nepal since 2003, The Carter Center deployed an international election observation mission to observe the 2008 constituent assembly elections. The Center has remained in-country to observe the constitution drafting efforts and the peace process, with a focus on the local level.

Read all the Carter Center reports on Nepal's peace process >


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. 

Reports on Nepal's peace process

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