To save time and resources, election officials urge voters to register their fingerprints on the biometrics 

Election: In a run up to the upcoming thromde elections, Samdrupjongkhar’s dzongkhag election officers have begun registering voters through the biometric finger print scanner and have captured 247 voters’ fingerprints to date.

Being registered on the biometrics means that these voters will not have to worry if they forget to carry their VPIC card to the polling station unlike in the past where they had to run back home to collect the VPIC card.

This is because with a thumbprint, the biometric scanner will display the voter’s VPIC card details on the computer at the polling station. VPIC card is the most important document a voter should produce to vote during an election.

The next thrompon candidate will be chosen by 739 eligible registered voters, an increase from 667 registered voters in the first thromde election.  However, the first thromde election in 2011 had a poor voter turnout of 222 voters.

Electoral registration officer Tshering Sonam Tangbi said the biometric scanner is aimed to make election process smoother and faster besides authenticating the voter details.

“It’s less time consuming,” he said, adding that for instance, if a voter has a twin, they might look similar in the picture but the scanner would detect the details from their fingerprints.

He said although the chances of the system not detecting fingerprints on poll day is slim, they have still informed registered voters to carry their VPIC cards on poll day.

The election officers would be handling the scanner at each polling station and Tshering Sonam Tangbi urges all voters to register for the biometric.

“We’re still in the process of registering eligible voters who have attained 18 years and, the registered voters might increase in the next election,” he said. “But as of now only 247 voters have turned up for the biometric registration.”

He said they went door to door in six constituencies to collect thumbprints and register for the biometric.

But during the registration, it was found most of the voters do not live in Samdrupjongkhar and those who lived here have not yet registered or transferred their census with the thromde.

“Being unable to register all voters for the biometric and collecting details is a major drawback,” he said. “But those who are coming forward, we ask them to register for the biometric in any dzongkhag they are in.”

Tshering Sonam Tangbi said the other hindrance they are facing is the scanner not reading the thumbprints especially of old people and farmers whose thumb ridges have worn out.

They manage by applying creams mainly because once the voter details are registered on the biometrics, it can be used for other elections in future.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar