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May 20, 2018

‘ECP to notify 90,000 polling stations list’


May 20, 2018

ISLAMABAD: For the first time, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will, as per the Elections Act, 2017, notify the final list of about 90,000 polling stations a month before the Election Day.

The final and published lists of polling stations will help end complaints about change of polling stations hours ahead of the polling day by rival parties and candidates, and hence ensure transparency at this stage as well.

Already, on May 14, the draft lists of polling stations were shared with district election commissioners.

Now, the district election officers will get those verified. Polling stations should have basic facilities like water, electricity and facility for special persons to exercise their right to vote without trouble.

A senior official at the Election Commission told The News that ideally speaking, one polling station should entertain a total of 1,200 voters, accommodating them at four polling booths.

However, number of polling booths and capacity of a polling station handling voters could be adjusted accordingly, keeping in view the size of a constituency and voters ‘number.

He explained that security agencies were working on identifying security-wise vulnerable polling stations and those at lesser risk or completely safe polling stations. Security arrangements will then be made accordingly.

“The question of calling in the army personnel will arise at a later stage, though the law and order situation has already improved massively,” he pointed out.

It was learnt that district returning officers were bound to finalise lists of polling stations by June 18, ensuring these were equipped with basic facilities and then get them displayed at prominent places for public viewing for three weeks. Afterwards, district returning officers would get another four days as a cushion to deal with complaints or objections on polling stations or facilities.

“We will welcome complaints if any from public regarding location of a polling station and related facilities and district returning officers will hold hearing on day to day basis to address complaints,” the official maintained.

Similarly, those lists would also be uploaded on the Election Commission’s website as well. The final lists of polling stations would be notified and published exactly a month before the polling day.

On the other hand, training of 600,000 polling staff has been completed while in the final phase, training of nearly 300,000 staffers would be carried out, which is of primarily of technical in nature and mostly presiding officers and assistant presiding officers would be imparted training.

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