Election Observation Report (Counting Process)
NA-120 (Lahore III)
This report is issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) 1 for observing the counting process of bye-election in NA-120 (Lahore III). Total number of Registered voters in the constituency is 324786 including 179642 male voters and 142144 female voters. Total number of polling stations set up in the constituency is 220 including 39 polling stations with biometric verification. There are 102 male polling stations, 99 female whereas 19 polling stations are combined
The official closing time of the polling is 5pm. The CED teams made sure to enter the sampled polling stations before the closure of voting process. However at the Polling Station # 23 Govt. Islamia High School, Sant Nagar the presiding officer didn’t allow the CED observers to witness the counting process.
While entering the polling stations for observation of the closing and counting process the observers also reported about the situation outside the polling stations. It was observed that party workers had gathered in sizeable numbers around the sampled polling stations before start of the counting process.
All the sampled polling stations closed on the official time i.e 5pm. The polling staff started the closing process immediately and the counting started within 10 minutes of the closing at average. The voters waiting to vote inside the polling station were allowed to vote.
The observers reported a number of discrepancies in closing process. Starting from sealing the slit of the ballot box for closing to compilation of the results. At 12 % of the sampled polling stations the observers reported that the staff did not seal the slit of ballot box while closing the polling. At same percent of sample polling stations the staff did not count the issued and unused ballot boxes to tally with the count of casted and issued ballot papers. While staff at 33% and 44% polling stations respectively did not record the number of issued and un-used ballot papers immediately after start of closing process, pending it till final filling of forms towards the end of the counting process. One observer reported from polling station #220 that the seal of the ballot box was not properly intact when it was brought to table for counting process. Observers reported from 23% polling stations that the polling staff did not cross check the number of ballots cast against the number of signatures on the counterfoil I.e. issued ballot papers. While during the counting process at one polling station #116 the presiding officer did not show the ballot papers while declaring them invalid.
Ironically 37% of the presiding officers of sampled polling stations did not paste the result outside the polling station for the public. However, at the 88% sampled polling stations the presiding officers gave copies of the result (form 14) to the poling agents.
The observers noted that during counting process no representatives of the candidates lodged formal complaints at the sampled polling stations.
The polling staff cooperated with the CED observers during the counting process. All the observers were allowed to sit in the counting room without any restriction except for one polling station already mentioned above. The presiding officers of all the sampled polling stations answered all questions related to counting process and shared details of the vote count with observers.
Coalition for Election and Democracy