ISLAMABAD: The country’s top database authority is set to sign an agreement with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to design and develop a system for election candidates to access soft copies of the final electoral rolls with photographs of voters in their respective constituencies.
Section 79 of the Elections Act 2017 – supply of final electoral rolls binds the ECP to provide voter details to contesting candidates if a request is made.
“On the application of a candidate or their election agent, the district election commissioner or any officer authorised in this behalf by the commission shall provide to a candidate or an election agent a hard and searchable soft copy on universal serial bus (USB) [drive] in portable document format (PDF) or any other tamper-proof format of the final electoral roll with photographs of the voters and shall ensure that the copy is the same as provided to the returning officer and presiding officers,” reads sub-section 3 of Section 79.
ECP recently requested, and NADRA consequently agreed, to provide services to design, develop and provide a system for candidates to view voters records in soft format, according to a draft agreement available with The Express Tribune.
The proposed system will allow users to search through the records of constituents by name, family number, or serial number.
The facility will come at a cost. According to the draft agreement, NADRA wanted to charge a service fee of approximately Rs10 per voter record. However, a senior ECP official said the commission has negotiated the financial aspect of the project with NADRA and has agreed to lower the cost to Rs1 per voter record.
It is now up to ECP how much it would charge from the contesting candidate who will request for the provision of final electoral rolls of a constituency in soft format.
A confidentiality clause in the proposed agreement says that the ECP and NADRA will not share, distribute, sell or disclose any confidential information about voters to anyone. After NADRA provides the ECP with the software, the commission will distribute it among candidates on password protected flash drives against payments based on their constituencies.