Election officials in Trashigang were still waiting for postal ballots cast at the facilitation booths in other dzongkhags as of late last night. 

Election officials could not complete compiling the final number of the postal ballots received as of yesterday.   Sorting works on the postal ballots stretched until 10:30pm on Wednesday, April 18. Some 15 officials were engaged in the process. 

Should everything go as planned, Trashigang would receive a total of 12,111 postal ballots that includes ballots from facilitation booths and the conventional postal votes. 

As of Wednesday, the office of the Returning Officer in Trashigang received 9,088 postal ballots. All the ballots were accepted.

Of the total postal ballots, 3,441 were from the conventional postal voters that included the ballots from the armed forces, overseas and from remote areas. 5,647 were received from the facilitation booths.

A total of 3,866 conventional postal votes were sent from the RO’s office. Officials rejected 39 on the grounds of not having the Identity Declaration Certificate (IDC), having a blank IDC and for not being a registered voter. All the rejected ballots were from conventional postal voters.

Meanwhile, there is excitement in Trashigang even as people prepare to cast their vote today to elect one of the seven candidates to represent them in the National Council.

Speculations are running high even before the opening of the postal ballots in Trashigang. A group of people, over lunch, was seen discussing that a particular candidate had stood third on the postal ballot count.

The bustling town of Trashigang was almost reduced to half its population by midday yesterday. Many of the town’s residents had left for their respective villages to cast their votes today.

On the other hand, voters from as far as Thimphu had also come to exercise their franchise. “It is a good opportunity to meet and greet old colleagues here,” said Passang Tshering who had come from Phuentsholing. “This place has changed drastically in the last five years. New building has mushroomed and the area also looks spacious.”

Some of the voters were also concerned about the weather forecast that forecast rainfall in the east. “Hopefully the weather gets better tomorrow or else it would deter people from going to vote,” said a town resident.

A total of seven candidates will contest for a seat in the National Council today. “The odds are even this time. It is good to have options,” said a resident. “Hope everyone would exercise their right responsibly.”

A total of 80 polling stations have been identified in the dzongkhag.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang