–Govt officials at polling stations unable to exercise their right to vote due to flawed ECP mechanism
–System of balloting, result transmission system turns out to be a disaster
ISLAMABAD: Thousands of polling officials could not cast their votes during the 2018 general election due to the flawed mechanism adopted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Today has learnt.
850,841 government employees had been appointed as presiding, assistant presiding and polling officers to facilitate the voters at 85,000 polling stations, but a number of these aforementioned officials could not cast their votes as the ECP had instructed them to reach their respective constituencies by 6am.
A number of the officials, while talking to Pakistan Today, told that the system of providing ballot papers, giving awareness about the results transmission system (RTS) and submitting the results to the ECP turned out to be “a pathetic experience”.
“We had to keep on waiting for hours to collect the ballot papers just one-day before the election, in addition to this, we were not informed that the duty officers cannot go anywhere to cast the votes,” they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the ECP had instructed the government officials away from their homes to cast the vote till July 15, 2018, through the specialised postal service.
The officials told that no one had told them about how government officials can cast their vote through the postal service.
One official said that he received the letter regarding the election duty on July 18, 2018, however, the date to cast vote through the postal service was July 15.
It is also worth mentioning here that the armed forces had also collected 0.8 million ballot paper for their personnel in the first week of July.
The officials further informed that the ECP had also not made any arrangement for the staff on the polling day as after failing the RTS system, they themselves went to the ECP for the submission of boxes to the relevant authorities.
Ironically, the ECP had not made any proper system for the collection of results while teachers and other educated-class workers had to stand in queue for hours, they added.
The ECP had stationed 85,307 presiding officers, 510,356 assistant presiding officers, and 255,178 polling officers in four provinces and the ECP was just paying Rs 4,500 to these officials.
Similarly, 2,720 returning and deputy returning officers had also done the duty in four provinces.
The election observers have pointed out that the overall situation remained good in terms of facilitating the voters on election day, however, a lot of improvement was still needed.
The ECP will have to focus on the IT sector as the newly-introduced RTS system, in cooperation with NADRA, had failed to yield results.