Election Observation Report (Voting Process) NA-4 (Peshawar – IV)
Thursday (October 26, 2017)
This report has been issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) after observing the voting process in NA-4 (Peshawar-IV). The total number of registered voters in the constituency was 397,904 including 235,164 male voters and 162,740 female voters; while the total number of polling stations set up in the constituency was 269 with 837 polling booths, 492 for male voters and 345 for female voters.
The CED teams initiated observation of the voting process right from the opening of the polling stations. All staff was present at the sampled polling stations observed during the day except at Polling Station #92 where assistant presiding officer was absent at one of the female booths. At Polling Station #43, the polling staff took a 25 minutes break for lunch and prayers. Only presiding officer was present at that time and polling was temporarily suspended.
The voting turnout remained relatively low in the by-election. The average voter turnout per booth was 18 during the first hour of the day. This average gradually improved during the day. CED calculated the average again during the last hour to compare with the initial voter turnout. Voting turned out to be 25 votes per booth during the last hour of the polling. The observers submitted their reports of voting process until 4:55 PM so that they could enter the polling stations again for observation of the closing and counting process.
The voting process generally remained calm during the day. Observers from 49% of the sampled polling stations reported that no problems were observed in the vicinity of the polling station, implying that the ECP code of conduct was not observed at the remaining 51% poling stations. At Polling Station #9, 19, 31, 57, 76, 163, 193, 231, 235 and 252, observers reported problems of voters being transported, presence of campaign material, voter parchi distribution and party camp within 400 yards of the polling station.
The presence of unauthorised people inside the polling stations was also observed. At PS# 248 and 266, local officials were also seen. However, the staff requested them to leave the premises of the polling station. The observers also saw these uninvited people were also interfering with the work of the polling station staff.
The observers reported from sampled polling stations that no party lodged a formal complaint before the presiding officers during the day. However, they reported unrest at Polling Station #7, 248 and 266.
The CED observation teams reported that presence of polling agents during the voting phase was higher than during the opening phase. The PTI deployed the highest number of polling agents covering 77% of the sampled polling booths. ANP and PMLN representatives were present at 75% while the JI had presence of its polling agents at 71% of the polling booths. Among major political parties, the PPPP had the lowest (68%) presence of polling agents at the sampled polling stations
When the CED observers asked the presiding officers (POs) if there was any essential material missing, two of them replied in the affirmative. At polling station number 54 and 147, the POs said that the ballot papers were not provided in sufficient numbers.
The security situation generally remained in control of the law enforcement agencies and no major law and order situation was witnessed at the sampled polling stations during the CED observation.
About CED: CED is a civil society coalition for voter education, election observation and strengthening democratic institutions. Its secretariat is based at CPDI