Comparing the two elections that were held in closer dates, Nepal had a higher voter turnout than that of France. Almost 71% of eligible voters cast their precious votes in the Local Polls in Nepal while only 63.5% of the eligible voters voted for the French Elections.
There was a holiday in both of the countries on the day of elections and only a single day was allocated for the election. What has come as a big difference is that France concluded the results of the election within a day, but in Nepal, it’s already been 5 days and the vote counting is still not halfway through the process.
Slow Election in Nepal
It took around 18 hours just to count 2000 votes in one of the wards in Lalitpur. It’s estimated to take another 20 days for the voting to conclude and the local leaders to be finally appointed in the metropolis. Keeping this slow-paced vote counting process in mind, people are mocking the election commission saying the vote counting process might take months to conclude at Kathmandu Metropolitan City, the place where the maximum number of votes are cast. While we understand that the vote counting should be done with neutrality, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the process has to go at a glacial speed. There are, indeed, measures that can be taken to speed up the vote counting process.
What I, and millions of Nepalese waiting for the results, see as a flaw is that the concerned bodies aren’t taking their job seriously. Even after criticisms from the civilians, the officers are just “urging” the vote counting personnel to speed up their work. And the reasons they give for the slow-counting are just hilarious. Some are saying that the process is new for the officials while others are blaming “minor technical issues” for the days-long delayed results. 5 days after the elections, only 13 out of the 217 Municipalities, 13 Sub-Metropolitan Cities and 4 Metropolitan Cities have been confirmed. The process, indeed, is going to take months to finish.
The Proposed Solutions for Faster Vote Counting in Nepal
Something needs to be done if the vote counting process is to finish soon, be it employment of more people or fear or any other method. What I see fit at the moment is creating a fear of losing jobs if a specified target is not meet. Everyone knew how much people love the government paid jobs in Nepal and nobody will ever want them to be taken away. If the election commission issues a notice regarding the number of votes that each of the counting station has to publish before the day, it might speed up the process. Fear of losing a job in a county with more than 25% employment will surely hit people hard and they’ll start taking the work seriously.
Another process I see fit is the employment of more number of people in major counting stations. Maybe it’s the handful of people having to count hundreds of thousands of votes. Polling stations that had a higher number of voters have been identified on the day of elections and if the EC employs more people in massive stations, the process will surely boost up the process in folds.
Another alternative might be to employ more people and give a target at the same time. This process might reduce the time taken at least 4 folds and if it’s taking a month to publish the results right now and it takes only a week after the process is implemented, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Nepal Needs to be Prepared
And for the next time, the Election Commission needs to take measures so that voting is done smoothly with highest participation rate making sure that the results will be published within days of polling. 5 more years remain for the next local-level election to happen and significant changes in technology will come by that time. Maybe Nepal will adopt electronic voting by that time and the results of the elections will come within hours of concluding the voting process.