Nima Wangdi

Paper ballot facilitation booths (PBFB) in all 20 dzongkhags will open from December 11 to 15.

Voters who registered for PBFB services can go to the booths to cast their votes without having to travel to their villages.

The Election Commission of Bhutan’s (ECB) media focal person, Phub Dorji, said there will be 10 centres in Thimphu set up in different locations.

“Each centre will cater to two dzongkhags only to avoid the crowding of people at one centre.” he said.

He said voters should know which centre caters to their dzongkhag before they go to vote. “We announced which centre will cater to which dzongkhag through the media and the commission’s website.”

Phub Dorji said voters should carry their original citizenship identity card or their voter identity card when they go to vote at the centres. “The centres will remain open from 8am until 4pm.”

He said the rejection of votes will be minimal when cast through PBFB. “Election officials will be at the centres assisting voters.” 

He also said that ECB will segregate the envelopes containing paper ballots and dispatch them to the respective dzongkhags with security. “The envelopes will be handed over to the dzongkhag election officer, who in turn will distribute it to the respective returning officers. Envelops should reach the returning officers before December 20.”

Phub Dorji said that the PBFB was initiated to avoid the risk of Covid-19 virus local transmission by preventing people from traveling to their dzongkhags.

He said people should cooperate and follow Covid-19 protocols, such as wearing masks properly and avoiding crowds when they come to vote.

Meanwhile, mobile voting booths for people over 60 years of age, and those with different abilities, will also be operational during this period.

There are more than 30,000 PBFB voters in Thimphu alone.

According to the ECB, 15,174 people registered for conventional postal ballot, 95,570 registered for PBFB, and 39,469 registered for mobile voting booths in the country.

There are 463,040 eligible voters as of October 1, 2021.

The poll day is on December 22.