Counting officials at the Sarpang Returning Officer’s office in Gelephu worked late into the night for the past two days to complete opening the postal ballot envelope A packages.

The office began opening the envelopes on April 17 deploying four counting officers who could open close to 500 envelopes. The office asked the dzongkhag election office to provide more counting officials and added 14 more counting officials.

The office of the returning officer has received 3,323 postal ballots. Of that 1,420 were conventional postal ballots and 1,903 were ballots cast through the facilitation booths across the country.  The office had issued 895 conventional postal ballots. The other ballots were received from the armed forces.

There are 292 polling officials excluding security officials dispatched to their respective polling stations after a two-day refresher course. The dzongkhag pooled 37 vehicles from the government agencies in the dzongkhag to ferry polling officials.

There are 45 polling stations spread across the 12 gewogs in the dzongkhag.

Sarpang election officer Sonam Wangda said that all the polling stations are set up and ready for the poll day.

Of the 3,217 registered postal ballot facilitation booth voters in the dzongkhag, 68 percent turned up to cast their ballots. There were five facilitation booths and a mobile booth was set up at the Pelrithang jail.

Sarpang has 29,789 registered voters. The dzongkhag has seven candidates for this election, including Anand Rai from Gakiling gewog, and incumbent National Council member Dhan Bdr Monger from Dekiling gewog, who are contesting for the second and third time in the NC elections.

The others are Khari Lal Gurung from Chuzangang, Pema Tashi from Serzhong, Tshering Norbu from Gelephu thromde, Tshering Penjor from Jigmechoeling, and Ugyen Tshering Dorji from Shompangkha. Samtenling gewog nominated Mon Bdr Rai through the dhamngoi zomdu but he could not obtain the accreditation of his graduation certificates on time and could not file his nomination papers.

Election officials said that the turnout is expected to be better this time compared with the attendance during the dhamngoi zomdu. The dzongkhag saw only about 15 percent of the voters attend to nominate their candidates in the dhamngoi zomdu from the gewogs.

The counting of ballots from envelope B will begin from 9am today, officials said.

Tshering Palden | Gelephu