Election Observation Preliminary Report (Opening Process) PP-20 (Chakwal-I)
Tuesday (January 9, 2018)
This is a preliminary report issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) for observing the by-election at PP-20 (Chakwal I). Total number of Registered voters in the constituency is 279530 including 144191 male voters and 135339 female voters. Total number of polling stations set up in the constituency is 227 with 814 polling booths, 421 for male voters and 393 for female voters. This report presents the observation of the opening process of polling in the constituency.
The observation teams reached the designated polling stations at 7:30 am to assess the preparedness of the polling staff and to observe the opening process. At all the sampled polling stations ECP staff cooperated with the CED teams; they were allowed to enter the premises and observe the proceedings.
At the approach of the pooling stations the observers noted the environment outside the polling station. Voter enthusiasm was observed to be moderate in the morning and observers did not report long queues of voters outside the gate before opening of the voting.
Situation outside the polling station before the start of the polling was generally calm and no incident of violence was reported, the security forces were in good control of the security arrangements.
The polling staff was present on majority of the sampled polling stations at the starting time. However, at PS#196 a female polling officer and at PS#114 a male polling officer was absent when polling started. Female polling stations have been provided with female staff; however only 25% of the sampled combined polling stations had female presiding officer.
Starting time of the polling is 8 am however 34% of the sampled polling stations started late. Out of those polling stations that started late, the delay of 11-30 minutes was observed at 67% and 31-60 minutes at 33% pooling stations. Major cause of delay was unpreparedness of staff and late arrival of some staff members.
The polling station lay out at the start of the polling was found to be suitable for voting at 89% sampled polling stations while 11% reported issues of insufficient space for instance polling set up established in the corridor of the building instead of rooms.
Sufficient essential polling material i.e. ballot boxes, secrecy screens, seals, indelible ink, voters’ lists etc. was present at all the sampled polling stations at the start of the polling.
The CED observers reported that the ECP staff followed opening procedure at majority of the sampled polling stations. The empty ballot boxes were shown at all polling stations and were sealed in clear view of polling agents and observers. The polling started at all polling booths in presence of the polling agents from major political parties. The CED observers were allowed to observe the opening process without any restrictions. At 56% of sampled polling stations, observers were satisfied that opening procedure was followed completely.
The CED observers noted that the opening process generally remained calm and no untoward incident was reported at the sampled polling stations; no formal complaint was lodged during the opening process. However, the observers noted presence of unauthorized persons inside some polling stations before start of the polling. At polling stations #84 and 104 office bearers of a major political party were seen inside the premises and the polling staff did not ask them to leave, reported the CED observers.
The observers reported their satisfaction about cooperation of the PS staff. At 100% sampled polling stations the observers were allowed to observe the opening procedure without restriction. The CED observers rated conduct of the PS staff to be good at 56% and very good at 44% of the sampled polling stations.
About CED: CED is a civil society coalition for voter education, election observation and strengthening democratic institutions. Its secretariat is based at CPDI