The nation will go to poll for the National Council Elections on April 20, 2018. The 127 candidates from the 20 dzongkhags will compete for the 20 national council seats.
National Council Poll Day and counting of Votes- April 20, 2018
Declaration of results and submission of results to His Majesty the King- April 21, 2018
Start of election petition period- April 21, 2018
Issuance of Certificate of Election - April 24, 2018
End of election petition period - May 8, 2018
To ease the voting process, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will set up about 64 postal ballot facilitation booths for the upcoming National Council elections across the country.
Training coordinator with ECB, Gem Tshewang, said that this added facility to the conventional system is to facilitate voters. “Postal ballot facilitation booth has less room for mistakes.”
During an awareness session on the postal ballot facility, Gem Tshewang said that facilitation booths would be set up eight days prior to the polling day. “Facilitation booths will be open for three days until the sixth day prior to the polling day.”
He said that the remaining five days until the polling day is meant for distributing the postal ballot packages to all Returning Officers.
Voters willing to avail postal ballot services have to fulfill the complete process of registration, application, and voting.
To register for postal ballot facilitation services, a voter needs to go to the ECB website at and select the dzongkhag the voter resides in.
The forms are customised for every dzongkhag as the location of the postal ballot facilitation booth would differ. Thimphu, at eight, has the highest number of facilitation booths.
In the registration form, a voter needs to give details of his/her permanent address, and occupation. Depending on the choice of postal ballot facility, the voter would either have to provide a postal address (in case of traditional postal ballot system) or choose a location suitable to them.
Registration forms would have to be returned either to the Human Resource Officer or focal persons or the nearest Dzongkhag Election Office. Voters can also submit the form through mail. They can call toll free number at 2008 for more information.
Civil servants, the armed forces, trainees, students and officials on election duty could cast postal votes through the facilitation booth while voters with special needs such as long term hospital patients, differently-abled persons and prisoners could cast votes through mobile facilitation booth.
Citizens who reside overseas, and in remote areas can cast votes through Bhutan Post. Groups specified by ECB are eligible for postal ballot services.
Postal voters voting through the facilitation booths are not required to apply for the ballots as they are present in person to cast votes but have to register to avail the facilities.
Gem Tshewang said that the introduction was to increase voter turnout by ensuring all registered postal voters cast their votes.
In the 2013 election, about 70,000 Postal Ballots (PB) were registered while ECB received only about 40,000, of which 30,000 ballots were issued.
From around 9,000 ballots, about 6,000 were applied without registering while others were due to missing detail.
Currently, ECB found mistakes in the registration forms, Gem Tshering said. “Details such as the identity card numbers and phone numbers were found to be missing or were incorrect. Some had provided e-mail addresses but not many respond to e-mail.”
He said people knew their respective dzongkhags but got the names of the gewogs incorrect, adding that while validating the information in the registration form, phone numbers were unreachable.
In addition to awareness campaigns, he said that ECB officials go to every office but attendance has been poor.
If you are a Registered Voter, eligible to be a Postal Voter as per Section 331 of the Election Act of
the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 and wish to avail the Postal Ballot Facility to vote in the upcoming
Third Parliamentary Elections, you must use this Registration Form to register with the Election
Commission of Bhutan (ECB).
The Link to the Postal Ballot for Overseas Votes only can be reach as below. Please copy paste the link below in your URL.
Completing this Registration Form
Ensure information and personal details you provide are clear and correct. Please tick the appropriate “Occupation” check box and ensure that you provide us the complete current residential address. If the current residential address is the address where you would like to receive the Postal Ballot package, then write ‘SAME AS ABOVE” or else provide the most current and convenient Postal Address.
Returning this Registration Form
The completed and signed form with any supporting documents may be submitted to either the nearest Royal Bhutanese Embassy/Consulate Offices or scanned and emailed to [email protected].
Registration Form without signature shall not be accepted.
Check your Enrollment Status
Once you submit this Form to register with the ECB as a Postal Voter, you must check your enrollment status at:
Postal Ballot Unit for NC Elections 2018,
Election Commission of Bhutan Democracy House Kawajangsa,
Post Box No. 2008
Phone No. 02-334851/334852
Fax No. 02-334763
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ecb.bt OR Call Toll Free at 2008 (during office hours)
More Information For further information or Registration Forms for other Dzongkhags, please contact at any of the above address.
ECB has started preparing for the third parliamentary elections to be held in 2018.
The National Council will complete its term in May 2018, while the National Assembly will dissolve in August. Assuming that the prime minister does not dissolve the Assembly prematurely, elections could be held in late October 2018.
In the case of the Council, however, elections could be held before May 2018 so that the third National Council starts its term as soon as the current Council members complete their term. This is because the Council is a “continuous House”.
ECB said that it has already issued public advisories to avoid the time periods of February to May 2018 and August to October 2018 for any programmes and activities that involve public gathering. Also, ECB has advised all prospective contestants that census be transferred in the constituency of their choice.
ECB stated that it has advised all those interested to contest the elections on ensuring mitsi (census registration) in constituency of their choice.
According to ECB, all 20 dzongkhags are also finalising the customised strategy for each dzongkhag focusing in particular on voter turnout, which was the theme of the “fifth Biennial ECB Conference” as well as the stakeholder’s discussion forum for Successful Third Parliamentary Elections 2018 held recently at Paro.
After the successful conduct of the second local government elections 2016, ECB conducted “The Learning from Experience Programme” of local government elections 2016 with various stakeholders including the media and received their feedbacks and recommendations based on the actual experience. This was done to enhance and improve the electoral process, ECB said.
Source: Kuensel Online dated July 13, 2017 (http://www.kuenselonline.com/ecb-prepares-for-2018-elections/)
Bhutan observes National Voters’ Day
The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) shifted its focus on 2018 parliamentary elections with the celebration of the fourth National Voters’ Day in the dzongkhags yesterday.
ECB organised various programmes to observe the day under the theme “Mission 2018: Participation By All In The 3rd Parliamentary Elections”. The day coincided with the International Day of Democracy.
“This year, as ECB shifts its focus on the parliamentary elections 2018, this national event gives platform to renew our commitment to the vibrant democracy envisioned by our visionary monarchs and enshrined in our Constitution,” ECB in a press release stated. The primary objective of the day was to enthuse the citizenry and encourage them to engage meaningfully in the democratic process, it added.
ECB’s assistant information and media officer, Karma Wangmo, said that the celebration in Gelephu was attended by Commissioner Deki Pema. Chief Election Commissioner, Chogyal D Rigdzin, graced the celebrations at Wangbama Central School in Thimphu.
As part of the celebrations, ECB distributed Voter Photo Identity Cards (VPICs) to the citizens who turned 18 years of age and those who transferred their census. People with old voter cards were also given new voter cards. Officials, however, said they were not in a position to provide the number of VPICs distributed during the day.
The day is also celebrated annually remind all voters of their importance and responsibility in a democratic society.
As part of preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections, ECB has plans to conduct seminars for aspiring NC candidates and has notified them to register with ECB’s Department of Civic and Electoral Training or with the respective dzongkhag election office by September 20. ECB will work out the exact dates and venues based on the registration.
Bhutan Accreditation Council also has notified that the registered political parties and the aspiring candidates to start processing for recognition of qualifications for the upcoming parliamentary election 2018 at the earliest.
BAC has notified the recognition application must reach the Secretariat Office at least two months before the deadline set by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) for filing of nominations. “Any applications received thereafter shall not be entertained.”
According to ECB, the current members’ term of office would complete on May 9, 2018. The election process will begin from February to ensure that the third NC is reconstituted on May 10.
All government agencies, autonomous bodies, corporations, private offices, religious organisations and the general public have been notified to avoid organising programmes and activities involving public gathering within the period of February to May.
Source: Kuensel Online dated September 16, 2017 (http://www.kuenselonline.com/ecb-shifts-its-focus-on-2018-elections/)
Preparations are in full swing for the 2018 parliamentary elections that will mark the 10th year of a successful democracy, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) stated.
ECB has entered the pre-election period with the issuance of a public advisory prohibiting religious and other events involving public during the election period. According to ECB, the election periods start from February to May 2018 for the National Council and August to October 2018 for the National Assembly.
However, in an email interview with Kuensel, ECB stated that it would allow some unavoidable events such as technical and international meetings on a case-by-case basis.
The commission stated it would ensure that no political parties or candidates would be involved in those permitted events and that they would not be used in any way for electoral gains.
The ban on events would not apply to non-partisan national events. “The 21st of February, His Majesty The King’s birth anniversary is a non-partisan national event and should by all means be celebrated as usual,” the commission said.
ECB is currently reviewing arrangements related to public debates, postal ballots, human resource deployment, polling stations, media arbitrator’s office and public election campaign fund among other activities. It is also finalising various rules, regulations and guidelines, which would give a detailed legal context for electoral procedures and protocols.
“Election materials for the elections are also being procured and will soon be dispatched to the dzongkhag election offices,” ECB said. “The third parliamentary elections 2018 are indeed just around the corner.”
The commission said that it is educating people on the requirements of the candidates to contest in the parliamentary elections.
Separate election strategies for all 20 dzongkhags have been prepared to increase voter turnout. According to ECB, those strategies are being implemented in respective dzongkhags.
On whether ECB feels the need to improve its performance in making elections successful, the ECB stated, “There are always lessons to be learned from and also to innovate from the conduct of an election to the next. ECB takes past successes as inspiration to continually learn and achieve the highest standards possible.”
Participation of women as candidates has been dismal both in the local government elections and parliamentary elections although more women turn up to cast their votes at the polling booths. Out of the 128 national council aspirants who registered with ECB for seminars, only seven were women.
Seminars were conducted for aspiring national council candidates to disseminate information on key legal framework and other required documents to participate as candidates.
ECB stated that as an election management body, it is facilitating both women and men to participate meaningfully in elections. ECB also urges media houses to fulfill their vital role in order to help the electorate take a well-informed decision.
Source: Kuensel Online dated November 28, 2017 (http://www.kuenselonline.com/preparations-for-2018-elections-underway/)
The Election Commission of Bhutan conducted Seminars for aspiring National Council Candidates on 10th and 11th of October 2017 at Terma Linca, Thimphu. The two days Seminar provided opportunities to engage in open deliberation with the aspiring candidates and disseminate information on the key legal framework and other necessary required documents to participate as candidates in the National Council Elections, 2018. Those who could not attend the Seminar but wish to receive relevant information are encouraged to visit the nearest Dzongkhag Election Office or the ECB Head Office in Kawangjangsa, Thimphu.
Out of the total 142, registered for the Seminars, 53 aspiring candidates attended the seminar on 10th of October 2017 and 69 attended on 11th of October 2017.
In particular, the participants were briefed on various stages in the election period, the documents required for the filing nomination; election campaigning elements of elections; selection procedure (Dhamngoe Zomdu), Common Forum, Public Debate, Social Media, Campaign Finance, accounting and expenditure reporting, Election Returns; the Election Dispute System and the Poll day procedures.
Source: ECB website dated October 15, 2017 (http://www.ecb.bt/?p=5408)