Among many anomalies on Election Day, there is one that stands out: There was more than 100% voter turnout in many polling stations for national and provincial constituencies across the country, according to the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
The election watchdog called upon the ECP to release all polling statements of count (Form XIV) to the public on its website before certifying final results in any constituency.
Data gathered by FAFEN observers at polling stations showed impossible voter turnout greater than 100% in many polling stations.
According to the FAFEN report, the voter turnout was more than 100% in at least 49 polling stations out of 8,119 polling stations sampled by FAFEN across Pakistan, according to statements of the count delivered so far by observers.
FAFEN advised ECP not to include votes from these polling stations in calculations of constituency election results, and advised them to consider re-polling in these stations.
Of these 49 polling stations, at least 32 were in Punjab, 10 in Sindh, six in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and one in Balochistan. The polling stations with impossible voter turnout figures included 19 female polling stations, 16 male stations and 14 combined (male and female) stations.
Voter turnout is calculated on the basis of registered voters for each polling station as given on the ECP website. Polling stations included in the analysis are only those in which presiding officers accurately calculated the total number of ballots as recorded on the statement of the count (Form XIV).
FAFEN has recommended since 2008 that the ECP should not consider the results from any polling station where more ballots are cast than the number of registered voters, and should investigate highly improbable cases of voter turnout, such as those greater than 80%. The network further stated that the best practice for election transparency requires that polling station ballot counts and vote counts should be posted as quickly as possible on the ECP website, both as scans of the original forms and in data tables that can be scrutinised.
This information was made public by the ECP for the first time many months after the 2008 elections, based on persistent FAFEN advocacy.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2013.