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EVM-based general polls may cost up to Rs350 bn

December 29, 2021
EVM-based general polls may cost up to Rs350 bn

ISLAMABAD: The ECP’s initial estimates about the basic cost of Electronic Voting Machine-based polls is around Rs 200 billion while total spending is estimated to reach Rs 350 billion for one general election.

Senior sources in the Election Commission of Pakistan say holding EVM-based elections would also require many amendments in different statutes.

However, there may not be the need for any constitutional changes if the ECP finally decides that it is ready to hold the 2023 general elections using an electronic voting machine system.

According to a source, the initial estimate of Rs 200 billion does not include spending on training, security and cyber security and other areas, which also need a huge amount of funding.

Talking about the preliminary findings of three high-level committees which the ECP had constituted to deliberate on different aspects of the possible implementation of the electronic voting system, the source said that the ECP is racing against time to seriously attempt the introduction of the EVM system.

“Whether we can do it or not will only be decided once the committees complete their work and submit their reports to the Election Commission for its consideration,” the source said, adding that the Committees are likely to complete their job in the first week of January 2022. On the possibility of holding EVM-based elections, the ECP had constituted three committees last month which were given one month to complete the work assigned to them. The one-month period ended last week but the Commission extended the deadline by ten days.

The main committee headed by the secretary Election Commission is deliberating upon the entire electoral process in the light of changes required for the new electronic voting system. This committee has detailed terms of reference under which it has to study different formats as implemented in different countries.

The main committee is meant to discuss the issue of most suitable systems that could be adopted in Pakistan, besides deliberating on matters like procurement, safety and the storage of the machines.

A committee under additional secretary ECP was constituted to discuss the financial aspects of the new system of voting. This committee will report on how much the new system will cost the public kitty.

Another committee under the DG Law of the ECP has been set up to assess the present laws and suggest the changes required in the Constitution, law and rules to switch over to the electronic voting system.