The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is planning to use biometric voting machines (also known as electronic voting machines) in the upcoming by-election at Karachi’s constituency PS-114. The machines will be used on a trial basis.
An ECP official has informed the media that these biometric voting machines will be strictly monitored. The Commission has acquired buildings in 19 districts to create its own storage facilities across the country. It plans to get buildings in 10 more districts in the coming months.
The official added that the ECP has added 70,000 polling stations to Google Maps to facilitate the general public.
A detailed training program has been approved for the presiding officers, assistants, polling officers and other staff. During the next year, about 586,000 of staff will be trained via 23,440 training sessions to ensure a smooth voting process when the machines are used. Provincial governments have also been asked to make sure that all basic facilities are available for voters at all the polling stations.
The training of master trainers has been completed who will now train further officers to improve their skills.
Contestants have been warned by the ECP to avoid any rallies or public meetings on July 7 and 8 around the area of the constituency (PS-114) where the by-elections will be held.
“Any person who contravenes provisions of law shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months or with fine, which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both,” the ECP said.
Prior to this, the minister of IT and Telecom, Anusha Rahman, had announced the government will not be introducing electronic/biometric voting machines in the upcoming elections.
The government needs to take the matter seriously if it intends to curb rigging in elections. Use of the latest biometric voting machines can reduce it to a greater extent. If ECP or the government plan to delay the voting machines or opt to use the older voting machines, there could be a lot rigging in the upcoming elections.