Voter Registration in Bhaktapur, Nepal with The Carter Center

Nepal is the middle of a massive undertaking… they’ve completely scrapped their old voter’s list and have started over. Not only that, but the process requires certain people (called Enumerators) to go door to door to every house in Nepal to get a record of who lives there and what members of the family may have moved to other parts of Nepal or to other countries. This would be a daunting task in any country, but in Nepal it means trekking through the Himalayas (think Mt. Everest, literally) at times!

Hopefully, it’ll all be worth it in the end b/c the new list, when complete, will not only be more secure than the last list (this one will have photos) and will be digitized (the last was handwritten), but also (hopefully) it will be more accurate than the last, which contained a number of errors. The Election Commission of Nepal has been hard at work on this process, which started in September 2010 and should conclude around June/July of this year.

What does The Carter Center have to do with all this? Well, they’ve had a field presence in Nepal since 2007, observed the 2008 Constituent Assembly election, and launched a political monitoring project in 2009. As part of their overall mandate to observe the political and constitutional processes in Nepal, they are also observing this voter registration exercise and will issue periodic public statements and reports on its progress (which I will post when available).

I observed the process in Bhaktapur with Carter Center consultant Michael Baldassaro and National LTO Anubhav Ajit, and if Bhaktapur is any indication, then the process should be successful. There do seem to be some minor hiccups, but none that are born out of malcontent or ill-will; everyone seems to be working hard and enjoying themselves in the process. And what’s more important… people are turning out to register even though there isn’t an election any time in the near future. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out! (and yes, I realize that makes me a bit of a nerd)

Registration center (“place”) #1:

Registration center #2, also in Bhaktapur…

Voter Registration in Bhaktapur, Nepal


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  1. jiwan 02/24/2011 at 11:09 pm #

    all great photos Claire. the last one is the best for my eyes.

  2. Therese Laanela 02/25/2011 at 9:11 am #

    Stunning photos, much easier to understand what an LTO day looks like.

  3. Cindy Brown 02/25/2011 at 9:22 am #

    Nice work, Claire. You have captured the intensity of community organizing. I love the politics of a place that wants to make sure things are done right so badly that people will climb the highest mountains to see that it happens. Does that make me a nerd, too?

  4. Claire 03/04/2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Thanks everyone!

  5. Christian 03/09/2011 at 9:53 am #

    Wow – Looks amazing!

  6. Satyam 03/11/2011 at 10:11 am #

    Claire, it’s like DMV visiting the little villages in Nepal!! and electronic fingerprinting! that’s just madness!!
    what kinds of messaging did they use to get the word out? seems like a pretty good turnout!
    what’s going to happen to the old card that i have been holding on to??

    • Claire 03/16/2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Haha, it was madness at times!

      They have a modest voter education plan, but it relies heavily on the District Election Officers and school principal’s do get the word out. Seems to be working ok though!

      You should keep your card b/c the Election Commission still hasn’t figured out what form of ID will be used for the next election.

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