Every vote counts: New electoral rolls by April 2012

Presiding officers to have lists with pictures of voters.


Irfan Ghauri August 21, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) expects to complete the new electoral lists, based on computerised national identity cards, by April 2012.


At a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday, Election Commission Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Deputy Chairman Tariq Malik said that the new list would include over 80 million names and would be based on Nadra’s database and the electoral list used in the 2008 elections.

The government will begin a door-to-door verification campaign on August 22. The authority has already provided its data and the commission will now send its field officers called enumerators verify the data to ensure that the new lists have as few errors as possible. This verification process, they said, would be completed by September 30.

Teams of government employees will go door-to-door and have fill out forms for every family to update and verify their information. The head of each family would then be asked to sign the form. The draft voters’ list will be displayed in January 2012 for 21 days at various locations across the country.

Over 211,000 officials have been trained to verify voter information, according to Ishtiaq Ahmed. “These teams will complete the verification process in their respective census blocks and submit data to the election commission,” he added. A tribunal will be formed to address any voter complaints after the draft list is displayed. This process is expected to be completed by the end of January. The final voter list will be displayed on April 3. The computerised national identity card number will be used as each voter’s unique identification number.

The names of religious minorities, including Ahmadis, will initially be compiled separately before being merged into the final list. Intersex people will have their choice of whether to be registered on the male or the female list.

To avoid electoral fraud, the commission will prepare two lists: one with pictures of every voter and one without it.



Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.

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