Saturday, March 22, 2008

50,035 can bet their votes won’t go waste

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, March 21:

At least 50,035 voters from Kathmandu constituency no 1 will not have to worry about rigging or booth capturing during the CA polls. The reason: For the first time, these voters will be voting through an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

The small equipment, which has a board with list for the parties and their signs along with buttons, guarantees zero per cent error. Votes can be cast every 15 seconds. EVM, is now being introduced in Kathmandu constituency no 1, which comprises ward nos 10, 11, 32 and 34 of the KMC, for the first time. Rigging and booth capturing will not occur because nobody will be able to make any change in the booth once the vote is cast and recorded in the computer, officials at the Election Commission said. India has provided the EVM.

“Voting starts when the machine gives you a green signal. Unlike the conventional ballot papers, a voter does not affix the stamp on the chosen symbol. He will have to push a blue button next to the symbol of his choosing. The machine will give a sound, making sure that the vote has been counted,” said Ishwari Prasad Aryal, EC’s section officer. Aryal said the polling officer does not have to sign on the ballot paper; he just pushes a button to let a voter cast his or her vote.

Seventeen groups have launched a door-to-door campaign to educate the voters and to test how effective the EVM is among the voters. The campaign will go on till April 7.
An EVM has two units — a ballot unit and a control unit. Both are linked with a five-metre cable. Each of the ballot unit can record 2,000 votes. It has space for 16 election symbols but when there are over 16 contenders, up to four such units can be joined.
[ KATHMANDU, MARCH 22, 2008, Chaitra 09, 2064]