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Carter Center Urges Election Commission of Nepal to Continue Efforts to Increase Turnout, Improve Data Quality on New Voter Register

नेपालीमा पढ्नुहोस \

Read full statement (English, PDF)

Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124; In Kathmandu, Sarah Levit-Shore, +977 1 444 1446

KATHMANDU… In a report released today, Carter Center observers found that the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) continues to make progress toward finalizing a new voter register but faces challenges related to registration turnout, access to eligibility documents such as citizenship certificates, and data quality.

Positively, the ECN has successfully compiled the registration data from all districts and has created the beginning of a unified electronic register with biometric data for approximately 10.8 million registrants. The public was recently given the opportunity to review the new voter rolls and to correct errors found. In areas observed, Carter Center teams found no significant indications thus far of people incorrectly being on the voter rolls.

However, the display of the voter rolls also revealed that an unknown number of registration records were affected by potentially avoidable errors. The ECN is currently in the process of correcting these mistakes. Allocation of some voters to incorrect wards appeared to be the most common mistake, but other types of errors were also discovered.

"Checking the data quality was a positive step toward finalizing Nepal's new voter register. The ECN should continue to dedicate time and energy to correcting the errors found to prevent problems on election day, and should also continue to build on its efforts to increase registration turnout," said Dr. David Pottie, associate director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program.

The ECN also recently conducted a missed voter registration exercise in order to increase turnout on the new voter register. The Carter Center notes however that a significant number of eligible voters (potentially between approximately –one to four million people) still likely remain unregistered and recommends that the ECN consider another round of registration prior to the next elections, time permitting.

Other findings described in the Carter Center's report include that there were considerable disparities in the implementation of the display, claims, and objections process, seemingly due to unclear guidelines and insufficient training. Additionally, the period of time allotted for display of the voter rolls and missed voter registration was noted as too short in some areas, and both processes suffered from low levels of turnout.

The Carter Center also found that the Electoral Roll Rules do not provide for sufficient safeguards against mistaken or unwarranted removal of voters from the rolls. Although this did not appear to cause major problems in practice, it is a serious legal concern that should be rectified.

Finally, The Carter Center found that the Ministry of Home Affairs missed an opportunity to ensure full access to voting rights by increasing efforts to issue citizenship certificates to eligible Nepalis who do not currently possess them and who are at risk of disenfranchisement in the next election as a result. Such activity is mandated by the February 2011 Supreme Court ruling.

The Carter Center encourages the ECN and the government to build on positive efforts to date and to take further steps to promote greater fairness, access, and opportunity for all Nepalis who wish to register. The Carter Center's findings and recommendations are offered in the spirit of cooperation and respect, and with the hope they will provide useful discussion points for the future.

Read the Center's full report here (PDF) >


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter 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 in developing nations to increase crop production. The Center has observed more than 90 elections in 36 countries. 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.

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