Norway, UNDP sign agreement to bring major reforms in the election process

09 Sep 2010

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The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP have signed a cost sharing agreement of NOK 13,000,000 (US$ 2.14 m) to support the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) to implement the Voter List with Photograph Project supported by UNDP Electoral Support Project? Institutional Strengthening and Professional Development Support for the Election Commission of Nepal.

The fund will be utilized for providing technical assistance including procurement of essential voter registration equipment such as laptops, finger print scanner and web camera. 

The adoption of this modern registration process and development of a voter list database with photograph and fingerprints has significant benefits. This includes clear identification of voters on the election-day, deterrence of false voting, ability to detect and remove duplicate registrations and locate internal migration of voters between locations. 

Earlier in April, UNDP provided technical assistance to the ECN to conduct pilot registration in 7 Village Development Committees of 5 districts. Followed by the pilot project, the main project is planned to be implemented phase-wise. 

The first phase implementation will start in September 2010 for 55 municipalities, second phase will start in November for the national registration and the third phase will start in April 2011 for the himalayan region. The process is expected to be completed by August 2011.

Each mobile registration team will be equipped with the voter registration kit (laptop, fingerprint scanner and camera). The Ministry of Home Affairs will be using the database compiled during this process to issue a multipurpose national ID card in the near future. 

It is also expected that the national ICT network to be established can use it for more efficient electoral administration, internal communications, and greater data sharing between central and field offices. 

The Election Commission of Nepal currently spends a significant amount of money every year for the annual enumeration process. 

In the past, evident flaws in the system gave rise to the increasing possibility of proxy voting. The introduction of this new technology is a major reform in the election process carried so far.