With 79,515 postal voters turning up to cast their ballots at the postal ballot facilitation and mobile booths from September 7-9, the country saw a voter turnout of 77.55 percent.
A press release from the election commission states that out of the 102,531 registered postal voters for the facilitation and mobile booths 35,462 male and 44,053 female turned up out to cast their votes. Of the total registered postal voters, 97,833 are facilitation booth postal voters and 4,658 are special needs postal voters. The commission set up 65 facilitation booths and 18 mobile booths in eight dzongkhags across the country.
At 91.89 percent, Lhuentse recorded the highest voter turnout among the dzongkhags while Thimphu saw the least at 70.88 percent. Of the 974 registered voters in Lhuentse, 895 turned up to vote at the facilitation booths. Thimphu, which has the highest number of registered postal voters at 35,551, saw 25,197 voters turning up to vote at the booths.
Total male voter turn out was 76.18 percent while female voter turn out was slightly higher at 78.69 percent. Of the 46,548 registered male voters, the facilitation and mobile booths saw 35,462 voters turning up to vote, while of the 55, 983 female voters, 44,053 turned up to vote.
While the voter turn out was higher for female voters, the number of female voters who did not turn up to vote is higher than the male voters. A total of 11,930 female voters, against 11,086 male postal voters did not turn up to cast their ballots in the three days the facilitation and mobile booths were operated at.
The commission’s press release states that as per procedure, the postal ballots cast was handed over at the end of each day to Bhutan Post for delivery to respective Returning Officers for counting on the Poll Day, September 15.
“The total number of Postal Ballot Envelopes at the end of each day were counted and crossed checked against the Electoral Roll Search System (ERSS) used in the booths to ensure that the number of registered voters verified against the ERSS and issued Postal Ballots match the number of Postal Ballot Envelopes handed over to Bhutan Post to ensure there are no mistakes or errors of any kind in the process,” the commission’s press release states.
Election officials assured that the ballots are well secured and that security personnel escort the ballots to Bhutan Post. The commission’s spokesperson and head of election department, Sonam Tobgyal said the commission has informed political parties to witness the sorting process of the postal ballots.