Amid recent local elections in Nepal, a claim went viral on social media “मतदाता परिचयपत्र नभए पनि भोट हाल्न पाइने” “You can vote even if you don’t have voter identity card”. Chief Election Commissioner of the Election Commission, Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, said that all those who have citizenship are allowed to vote. It further claimed that during a press conference organized by Election Commission, it is being said that those who have the citizenship have to vote.
In order to investigate the claim, we searched for mainstream media reports regarding Election’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and found an article clarifying the confusion. It is titled, “Those who have their names on the voters’ roll but have lost their voter ID cards will also be able to cast their votes”.
Furthermore, Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) released a press release clarifying that people who have their names in voters list are entitled to vote on basis of government issued citizenship certificate, national identity card, passport, or land ownership certificate.
Our research confirmed that the claim made on social media was partially false which created misunderstanding among general public regarding voting. The viral post made people believe that everyone having citizenship have been eligible to vote even if their name is not in the voting list. In fact, it was for the people who are registered voters but have lost their voter identity cards, only they are allowed to vote upon showing proof of their citizenship.
ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis
|Actor||Independent social media accounts are involved in spreading misinformation on social media.|
|Behavior||A rumor is being spread across social media platform in Nepal that Chief Election Commissioner, Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, said that all those who have citizenship are allowed to vote.|
|Content||Social Media posts.|
|Degree||The content is being spread to mislead people about elections. The targeted audience of the post was general public of Nepal. However, no synthetic means are being used to make the content viral, the original statement of Chief Commissioner was twisted to mislead masses.|
|Effect||The statement was being circulated to mislead the general public. However, the circulating post carried no potential threat, but it had potential of leading to a chaotic situation in polling stations on election day.|