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…