–ECP issues special guidelines to provincial election commisioners regarding transmission of results
ISLAMABAD: In order to ensure that polling staff, security personnel and inmates could cast vote in the forthcoming general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended the date for sending applications for the postal ballot to July 15 whereas previously it was July 10.
Hundreds of thousands of people assigned with the duties to conduct the forthcoming general elections have failed to apply for the facility of postal ballots because either they were not aware of ECP’s facility of the postal ballot or they could not do so due to complexities in the procedure of applying for the postal ballot.
Similarly, thousands of prison inmates, people with disabilities and government employees deployed in far-flung areas also failed to apply for the facility due to which they would not able to cast their personal votes on the day of the elections.
Taking notice of the situation, ECP decided to extend the date for sending applications for the postal ballot to make it possible for them to cast vote on the polling day.
The notification, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, reads, “I am directed to say that date for sending applications for the postal ballot for the polling staff and security personnel has been extended and fixed to July 15.”
ECP Deputy Director (Cord) Waqas Ahmed Malik issued directives to the returning officers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. The returning officers were directed that the applicants who desire to cast their vote should post individually and no department or jail superintendent shall send applications in bulk. The returning officers shall keep the record of applications received along with the envelopes.
The notification reads that the returning officers shall also dispatch postal ballot after necessary security to the applicant individually.
Besides, it was directed that the record of the postal ballot shall be maintained at all stages properly by the concerned returning officer.
It is further informed that the instructions already issued regarding postal ballot may also be implemented in letter and spirit.
RESULT TRANSMISSION SYSTEM:
ECP also issued special guiding principles to four provincial election commissioners pertaining to the transmission of votes’ results.
Waqas Ahmed Malik said that the presiding officer shall immediately take a snapshot of the result of the count and, as soon as connectivity is available and it is practicable, electronically send it to the commission and the returning officer before sending the original documents under section 90.
For the implementation of this section, the IT wing of the commission has developed Result Transmission System (RTS) in collaboration with NADRA. Accordingly, as per the application developed, the NADRA teams are also imparting training to the presiding officer/senior assistant presiding officers for running the application smoothly on polling day.
In this regard, it was observed that most of the presiding officers are not in possession of a requisite Android phone with a camera. Also, due to the absence of presiding officer/senior assistant presiding officer during training sessions, it is becoming difficult to assess the real number of presiding officers/assistant presiding officers who would be equipped/registered with RTS application for transfer of results.
So in order to address issues, it was directed that the returning officers shall ensure that the list of polling personnel (presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers) is complete in all respect by July 15.
Besides, it was directed that the returning officers shall also ensure that all presiding officers have been enlisted/registered with RTS application. In case of non-availability of the requisite android mobile set with the presiding officer then the returning officer shall ensure that amongst the other staff deputed at such polling station i.e. assistant presiding officer or polling officer, who possesses an android phone, will be enlisted/registered with RTS application to transmit the result of that polling station.
The notification reads that those presiding officers/senior assistant presiding officers, who could not get training of RTS application due to their late appointment or arrangements made as enumerated in para (ii) shall be trained by NADRA officials in coordination with the returning officer with effect from July 18 to 21.
The NADRA teams dedicated for registration of RTS application and training will report to all returning officers on July 18 positively.
It was directed that the district election commissioners will coordinate with the concerned returning officer for the purpose and the returning officer shall ensure the availability of such presiding officers, assistant presiding officers or polling officers in the office of the returning officers during registration/training of RTS application by NADRA officials between July 18 to 21.
ECP directed that the regional election commissioners will give a certificate on July 22 that all presiding officers or senior assistant presiding; officers/polling officers (on behalf of the presiding officer) under their jurisdiction have been registered with RTS application and trained by NADRA.
It is, therefore, requested that the same may be conveyed to all regional election commissioners, district election commissioners, district returning officers and returning officers for compliance in letter and spirit.