LG: Wherever there is a tight contest among candidates, postal ballots are going to make the real difference in the upcoming local government (LG) elections.

According to the ECB, a total of 78,218 voters from across the country have registered as postal voters for the upcoming polls slated for September 27.

The number of the registered postal voters for this election is slightly over 19 percent of the total registered voters.

There are 402,089 registered voters across the country for the upcoming LG elections.

In absolute terms, the number of postal voters has increased by 16,172, which is a 26 percent increase in the number of voters who registered as postal voters in the previous LG elections. In the first LG elections, a total of 62,046 voters had registered for postal ballots.

However, a number of the postal votes could be rejected on various grounds. A “significant number” of postal votes were rejected for various reasons in the first LG elections.

Returning Officers send the ballot papers for all LG posts to the postal voters in a single package to enable them to cast their votes for the multiple posts.

Besides diplomats, civil servants, armed forces personnel, students and trainees, the postal ballot facility is extended on case-by-case basis by the ECB.

A gup candidate, who requested not to be named, said, most of the postal ballots are cast for the former gups or those candidates who have resigned from civil service. “Civil servants from Thimphu and other dzongkhags call their gups directly for any work. And the gups would easily accept their request,” he said.

“If there is a former gup or a former civil servant contesting, postal ballots make a real difference,” he said.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding  (MoU) signed between the Bhutan Postal Corporation Ltd and the ECB, the former has the “full responsibility” to ensure that the delivery of postal ballots is carried out strictly as per the terms and conditions set out in the MoU.

Meanwhile, there are more female voters than male voters for the LG elections. There are 205,219 female voters in the country, which is 51 percent of the total voters nationwide. There are 196,870 male voters in the country, about 49 percent of the total number of voters.

Gasa dzongkhag has 1,924 voters, which is the lowest among all dzongkhags in the country.

Samtse has 44,936 voters, the highest among all dzongkhags. The second highest number of voters is in Tashigang, which has 44,524 voters.

MB Subba