Mr Sunil Bhandari is the NRNA Election Commissioner in the Victorian Election. Victoria’s Nepalese community is busy and excited in the lead-up to Election Day, and soon will see some of the upstanding members of their community who work so hard gain official merit and prestige. Each candidate in this election has their own manifesto and contributions to offer, with each voter hoping that their preferred candidate will have the opportunity to implement their initiatives and promises. For the past month, the NRNA Election Commission has worked tirelessly in ensuring that this election will run fairly and peacefully. Ms Niru Tripathi, Editor at the Nepali Times Melbourne, sat down with NRNA Election Commissioner, Mr Sunil Bhandari, to ask a few questions to ensure voters know how to cast their vote on the day.

1. How is are preparations going in the lead-up to the election. And what information can you provide in terms of venue, time, and election process?

All preparations have been completed, with the election due to be held on Saturday 8 July 2017 from 8:00AM to 5:00PM at Cyprus Community Hall 495 Lygon Street, Brunswick East.

NAV has helped in this process by providing volunteers to help the Election Commission conduct their business in the lead-up to, and on the day of the election. The Election Commission is thankful to all people and parties who have helped and who will be helping in different ways during this election.

2. What do people need to know before they vote?

The election will be handled by means of electronic ballot. All voters will be provided with a unique User ID and PIN which they can enter into one of the 10 available computers used for voting. Voter validation and the issuing of user IDs and PINs will be carried out at desk 4.

Please be mindful that you spare sufficient time for voting, as it may take longer to vote depending on the flow of voters and voter concentrations during peak times.0 There will be no priority voting, so if you require assistance in casting your vote, please contact one of the Election Commission Members who will assist you in voting as per your preference.

Identity validation will be completed based on official photo ID which may be any Australian/Nepalese drivers licence, passport or photo ID issued by government authorities. Identity validation is necessary in order to vote, so please bring appropriate ID documentation.

3. What time do the polls open and close?

The polls will be open from 8:00AM until 5:00PM. Please be in the voting venue before 5:00PM in order to cast your vote. The Election Commission will do everything to make sure that voting will start on time. If due to any unforeseen circumstances voting does not commence until after the scheduled time of commencement, we appeal to all voters to cooperate with us. Please note that a change in commencement time will not change the closing time of the voting time.

4. Who are your team members and how you define them in terms of working together?

Shree Pant, Diwaker Basnet, Bhola Giri and Niru Tripathi are members of the Election Commission who have shown great professional approaches in preparing for this election. I would like to thank all the members for their dedication and team effort. All of them, including myself, have agreed to the codes of conduct for Election Commission members. If you require any information or help regarding the election process, please contact one of us.

5.  Are there any other categorised teams?

Yes, there is the Crisis Management Team and the Election Observers team. The Crisis Management Team includes Chandra Yonzon, Jog Limbu, Durga Acharya, Mahendra Karki and Election Observers include Deepa Rai, Dr Anupam Pokhrel, Suresh Hada, Ramkumar Shrestha and Jamuna Parajuli. Each will play an integral role on the day of the election. I would like to thank all the members of the Crisis Management Team, Election Observers and volunteers for their time and contribution.

6.  When will the results of the election be announced?

Due to the time difference in Western Australia, the election will be closed around 7:00PM Eastern Standard Time. This will allow the IT Team only after 8:00PM to start working on the election results. The Election Commission is expecting to accumulate all results by 11:00PM from the IT team, and will hold a quick meeting to resolve the election results which will proceed results being published. Therefore, it is fair to assume that the election results will be announced after 11:30PM on Saturday 8 July 2017.

7.  And your last message to all?

My team and myself would like to wish all the very best of luck to all, and we ask that you please help us in making this election run peacefully and smoothly.

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