A total of 264 polling officials and 156 security personnel would leave for 47 polling stations in Wangdue today. 

The polling teams would leave for their stations at 8am today. 

The dzongkhag has arranged nine buses, 18 light vehicles and four Royal Bhutan Army trucks to ferry the officials to their stations. 

Wangdue’s returning officer, Tshering Penjor, said teams for about seven polling stations would be leaving in the afternoon. “Those who will take about an hour to reach the stations will leave in the afternoon.”

Each team comprises of about six officials. 

Tshering Penjor said that Baedrog chiwog of Kazhi gewog would be the most challenging polling station, as the team would have to walk for about six hours from the nearest road point. “Although there are other gewogs farther than Baedrog, they have road access.”

He said that the electronic voting machines (EVM) had been sealed since April 9 because of the busy schedule. “We have also issued extra EVMs for most places except for those we can easily reach.”

A two-day refresher course for the polling officials in the dzongkhag ended yesterday. 

The dzongkhag has five candidates from Bajo throm, Bjena, Rubesa, Sephu and Thedtsho gewogs. 

The candidates said that they could not cover all the 15 gewogs and the throm during their campaigning period due to the large number of villages and the vast distance between them. 

They also said it was difficult to reach the people due to the 6am to 6pm timing for the door to door campaign. According to them, 6am is too early to meet the people and most are gone for work during the day. 

People start to arrive home only after 5pm but the campaign time ends at 6pm, making it difficult to reach the people.

According to the office of the returning officer, the dzongkhag saw a total of 4,266 voters registered for the postal ballot facilitation booths, where the voter turnout was 76.44 percent with 3,261 turning up to vote at the three facilitation booths at Bjimethang, Bajo and Gangtey. 

The dzongkhag had issued 1,274 conventional postal ballots and received 1,081 postal ballots as of yesterday. 

Tshering Penjor said more postal ballots are expected to arrive before 5pm of April 19. The dzongkhag has about 19,693 eligible voters. 

Karma Cheki | Wangdue