Election Observation Preliminary Report PS114(Opening)

This is a preliminary report issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) for observing the election process at PS 114 – Karachi XXVI. Total number of polling stations set up in the constituency is 92 with 368 polling booths. The observation teams reached the designated polling stations at 7:30 am to observe the preparedness of the poling staff and the opening process of voting at the polling stations.

The polling staff was present on the sampled polling stations at the starting time of the voting process. It was observed that female staff had been deputed on the polling booths designated for the females; however majority of presiding officers was male.

Starting time of the polling is 8 am however 60% of the sampled polling stations started late with delay of 11 to 30 minutes; major cause of delay was unpreparedness of polling staff where staff took extra time to set up the polling booths and take positions to initiate the voting process. The polling station lay out at the start of the polling was generally found to be suitable for voting; 80% observers reported that.

The preliminary report reveals adequate polling material was provided at majority of polling stations, though at one polling station the presiding officer claimed that slightly less number of ballot papers as compared to the total number of registered voters was issued by ECP. Presiding officer of one polling station in Malir received 1500 ballot papers against 1966 registered voters shown in the polling scheme available at ECP website. Upon query by CED observer, he clarified that the updated voters list provided to him contained only 1067 registered voters and he had sufficient number of ballot papers to conduct the polling. This shows a polling data available at ECP website does not conform with the voter list provided to poling staff to conduct the elections.

The polling staff carried out the opening procedures at 100% of the sampled polling stations, the empty ballot boxes were shown to the polling agents and sealed in their presence. The polling started at all polling booths in presence of the poling agents from major political parties. The CED observers were allowed to observe the opening process without any restrictions.

Though major parties have tried to deploy their polling agents at polling stations but a lot of polling booths still lacked presence of some of the major parties’ polling agents. An analysis of preliminary data available at the starting time of the polling shows that MQM-Pakistan had maximum presence with polling agents deployed at 85% of the sampled polling booths. While Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) has the lowest presence with its polling agents deployed at 25% of the polling booths. Peoples party, PML (N), Jamat-e-Islami, and PTI had their polling agents present on 80%, 70%, 65% and 50% sampled polling booths respectively at the opening of the polling stations.

The 80% observers rated the overall conduct of the opening process at the polling station to be good and by the book. There was no untoward incident reported at and around the sampled polling stations upon the opening of the voting. However one of the observers reported unrest and tension building up in and outside of the polling station while she was leaving a polling station situated in Chanesor Village.

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