Election Observation Report PS114 (Counting)

This report is issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) for observing the ballot counting process of the by-election held at PS 114 – Karachi XXVI on July 9, 2017. Total number of polling stations set up in the constituency is 92 with 368 polling booths. The CED teams were present in the sampled polling stations before the official closing time i.e 5 pm.

The official closing time was observed in the majority of the polling stations however two of the sampled polling stations closed 11-30 minutes late due to late opening at the start of the day, reported the CED election observers deployed in PS114. Following the procedure the polling staff allowed the voters lined up in the polling stations to vote after closing time. The counting process started at majority of the sampled polling stations between 5:15 pm and 5:45 pm however at one location it was delayed to 6:30pm due to (i) late closing of the polling station, (ii) long queue of voters inside the polling station at the closing time. At majority of the sampled polling stations counting process ended between 7:30 pm and 8:15 pm, the latest being at 9:25 pm.

The observers while entering the polling stations before closing time reported that there were large crowds of political workers outside 60% polling stations but this did not call for any untoward incident and closing and counting process was completed smoothly.

One of the major incidents reported in the “voting process report”, buying of votes was still being rumoured in the locality of Chanesor while observer was entering the polling station to observe the closing process.

The counting process was observed by at least three different observer groups while the polling agents of the major political parties were also present. The CED observers were allowed without any restriction to observe the counting process. At one polling station the observer reported that the counting room was over crowded with polling staff, polling agents and observers resulting in delay in completion of the process.

CED observers reported that the polling staff at all the sampled polling stations observed the closing protocols. The ballot boxes were sealed in front of the polling agents and the observers, once the polling ended. The polling staff filled the required ECP forms14 and 15 while completing the vote count.

The lodging of formal complaints remained a low priority of the parties even during the counting process; only one incident of complaint during counting process at the sampled polling stations came up that was dealt with by the polling staff according to the procedures, reported the observer.
The presiding officer compiled the results and provided copies to the polling agents at all sampled polling stations. CED observers also obtained Form-14 i.e the result count from their designated polling stations. However, it was observed that only 40% of the presiding officers displayed the result outside the polling station. All the presiding officers provided details to the observers about number of ballot papers received from ECP, number of ballot papers used during poling and details of spoiled votes but only 20% of them shared copy of Form-15 upon request of the observer.
After completion of the vote count the overall turnout at the sampled polling stations remained 33.5%.

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