Digital Election Monitoring

Tanneri Chaso adopted a noble and innovative initiative during 2013 second CA election for contributing a fair environment for poll process. By monitoring election code of conduct and observation of the agencies involved in electoral process on the behalf of civil, the purposeful motive of Tanneri is to create favorable environment for fair and fearless election and public scrutiny. It had set up a mechanism activating almost every members of the network throughout country to make continuous observation of election process.

Starting from silence period of November 17 to next day of election November 20, information about activities, process and incidents of were collected and reported by volunteers to the online database of “www.tannerichaso.net” through using mobile SMS. Along with Tanneri volunteers local civilians were also involved so spontaneously observing candidates and political parties in their own constituency and reported through volunteers. Employing diverse methodology of gathering information, volunteers forwarded information from far-fung distances through observation and inspection in the format of photos, recorded sound of voters and candidates, use of SMS and emails, published news in mainstream media and conclusion of debates.

Information types send after observation

  • Photos
  • Recorded sound of voters and candidates
  • Use of SMS and emails
  • Published news in mainstream media
  • Conclusion of debates

In the historical event of second CA election held on November 19, many organization and agencies received responsibility to observe and monitor. Youth observer from Tanneri Chaso perceiving civilians responsibility to observe the observers and monitors in order to maintain fair and impartial poll environment get into the field. Youth Observers were mainly assigned to monitor the concern and activities of various agencies including election commission, national and international Media, security force, human right agencies, Nongovernmental monitors and government officials in deliberate manner.

Objectives:

  1. To give space for common public voters to convey their verdicts about what shouldn’t happen at the booth.
  2. Surveilling activities of candidates and political parties during silence period.
  3. Beside candidates and parties, other stakeholders of election like election commission, securities, national and international monitors, media and other assigned officials were also inspected.
  4. A peace and security matter provided by government was another aspect of concern.
  5. Inspect election code of conduct and regulation on the behalf of civilian.
  6. Observe the activities and process affecting election results.
  7. While single party CPN-UML rejected the CA election and called for Banda and strike during election period, the impact of rejection and affect of banda on the common voters was subject of observation.
  8. Check whether voters’ identity is miss-used or not.
  9. Keep an eye on whether voters could cast vote in peaceful, fearless environment on the booth or not.
  10. Examine electoral fraud and vote rigging for fair election.
  11. Make report on the basis of individual observation

Over all, the areas of observation were breakdown into following categories. Subject wise observations of different aspect assisted to study and gather the information separately.

  • Candidate selection
  • Voters Identity card
  • Excitement of participants
  • Clash
  • Silent period
  • Observer
  • Media
  • Security
  • Election code of conduct
  • Scenario after election

Outcome:

The collection of related information was disseminated to widespread public access through the database created in the official website of Tanneri Chaso. Volunteers at Kathmandu regularly posted information and facts to the online data base forwarded by volunteers from districts. They employed mobile SMS and Twitter account as easy and accessible medium to forward report of every minute. Information collection into the online database has been analyzed and developed into the report for over viewing the outcomes of the public observation to the election. Report has been drawn out into several categories. Observation and monitoring of Tanneri Chaso had brought following issues and problem about the election into public limelight.

  1. Candidate selection: Based on our observation party comittee granted ticket of election to the candidates accordance to economic access, Nepotism and enternal tieups. Many honest and heavely contributing leaders were deprived of access to ticket same as the new generation. For the shake of earlier influence of constituency, trend of changing Party and allies had also been depicted in surface. In some places general consensus declared the candidates, conversely almost every party had severe debate regarding selection of candidates for local constituency. Scene of counter candidency and leaving party while not getting  selection was also raised in the limelight. Minority, marginalized and underprevelege were not actually prioritized while selecting candidates for both direct and proportional election.
  2. Voters’ identity card: Somehow Voters education was traced to be lacking thus, many voters found to be deprived of their own voting card and many other accessed very lately. Miss management of the election commission while distributing voters Id was seen in the scene and lack of well managed queue to the voters was also reported as problem.
  3. Excitement of the participants: People were so spontaneously involved in the electoral process with hope and excitement crossing over the frustration of first CA failure. With the hope of second CA take a speed for constitution draft process, they were excited to cast vote. Overall the election was peacefully accomplished.
  4. Clash: About 35 cases of violent confrontation between the cadres of major political parties NC, ULM and Unified CPN-UML were reported to Tanneri Chaso. Beside rejectionist front had also committed serious violation to terror public. Monitoring help to cover security status in local booths and report it to network’s online platform.
  5. Media: Observation found the role of media quite satisfactory however the news of violent conflict between the political parties had created terror. Apart of this, media at local level were unbalanced while imparting information due to their partisan interest. News about electoral calculus and vote counting were varied in news reports of each media which had eroded the credibility of news media so was accuracy and fairness.
  6. Violation of election code of conduct: During election promotion campaigns it has been reported by volunteers that to influence the election, political parties continued to violate the election code since they distribute money, organize junkets, abuse of vehicles, misuse of children into rally, use poster of larger sizes, programs organized at schools were common. Moreover, Rejectionist also insisted people for not casting vote.
  7. Silent period: During silent period volunteers of Tanneri Chaso were mobilized throughout the country and they reported information updates every minutes. Mainly the cases of election codes violation were prevailing in silent interval including voters buying, cash distribution, allurements through feasts and drinks,  use of SMS and phone for asking votes as well as promotion and publicity even in abandoned period. In another information booth capturing and terrorizing representatives of other party by more dominant force and restricting entrance to others were also recorded.
  8. Observer: Election commission and other national/ international organizations had designate monitoring officer and observer during the day of election. Tanneri Chaso tried to figure out the roles of observer and the views of voters towards their activities. Lacking of adequate number of observers were found to the rural and remote election booths. Most of the booths consisting single monitors where as in some other districts a single officer need to inspect several other election center. Public grievances about the behavior of the volunteers and partial presence of monitors were also accounted. Observers somewhere without going to field reported through telephone and in some booths observers were found asking for votes.
  9. Security: Security was challenging issue for second CA election so that youths of network were attentively observing activities of security force and security effort of government. Since the rejectionist font had called for banda, they were major security thereat for government as long as silence interval as declared. We have reported 25 cases of bomb explosion and findings of explosive in the public places for hoaxing and terrorizing during the period. Security forces among all under home ministry were subsequently deployed for the management of peace and security.
  10. Scenario after election:

Though election was committed quiet peacefully and successful, the environments after the election in the following days were just opposite of public expectation. Public were curious to know the voting results meanwhile parties were engaged in blame game disrupted vote counting process. Election commission was rushing over to public the results where as cadres were eagerly waiting out of counting centers and voters were looking forward for news bulletins. Most surprising is the rejectionist party had also send representatives to vote counting center and after ascertaining defeat some parties and candidate promptly discarded vote counting and went on tension. Later on disregard of election code of conduct and violating activities were displayed by election commission and punishment also declared.

As a whole, election monitoring by Tanneri on the behalf of civilian is to scrutinize the process and activities of the agents associated with second CA election. It somehow contributed to empower the voting right of the public moreover Tanneri effort to vigilantly watch the process subsequently raised question for misconduct and malpractice in electoral process.  The participation of youths and local people in our clean election capable candidate campaign was worthwhile and valuable to adjust the concern of public stakeholder in the publicly concerned matter of constitutional election and its fair conduction.

Date: Nov 17, 2013 to Nov 20

Contributors: Nabin Silwal – Kathmandu, Deep Jyoti Shrestha- Kathmandu, Arjun Dahal- Dolakha, Birendra Kumar Mehta-Inaruwa, Bivu Thapaliya- Kathmandu, Chet narayan Rasaili- Birgunj, Devi Panday- Gaidakot, Devkala Karki-Dhankuta, Ganesh Budhathoki-Dolakha, Ganesh Dhakal-Kathmandu, Injina Panthi-Kathmandu, Kailash Neupane- Kathmandu, Khagendra Puri- Surkhet, Man Kumar Braili Illam, Menuka Bhattarai-Illam, , Preeti Maharjan-Kirtipur, Prem Khadka-Surkhet, Radha Dhakal-Gaidakot Chitwan, Ranjita Dangol-Hetauda, Sajana Timilsina-Nakkhipot Lalitpur, Sangita Kunwar-Gulmi, Srijan Bhattarai-Nuwakot, Suresh Bidari-Birgunj

Janakpur, Dhankuta and Illam.District covered: Surkhet, Kailali, Gulmi, Palpa, Nawalparasi, Chitwan, Makawanpur, Bara, Parsa, Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Sindupalchowk, Dolakha,