Election Observation Report (Voting Process) PP-20 (Chakwal-I)
Tuesday (January 9, 2018)
This report is being issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) after observing the voting process in PP-20 (Chakwal-I). Total number of Registered voters in the constituency is 279,530 including 144,191 male voters and 135,339 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.
The CED teams initiated observation of the voting process right from the opening of the polling stations. Polling staff was present at all the sampled polling stations observed during the day. The voters’ enthusiasm remained relatively low in the by-election. The observers reported that only 25% of sampled polling stations had ques outside when the CED teams approached these polling stations. The average voter turnout per booth per hour was 16.3 during the day. 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 14% of the sampled polling stations reported that problems were observed in the vicinity of the polling station, implying that the ECP code of conduct was not being observed at these polling stations. Of these 14% polling stations, CED observers stated 67% had party camps within 400 yards, 83% said voters being transported to the polling stations while 17% stated incidents of voter parchi distribution outside polling stations. Presence of unauthorized people outside the polling stations was also observed at 17% of these polling stations.
Presence of unauthorized persons inside 25% of sampled polling stations was also reported by the CED observers. Only at 6% of the polling stations, polling staff asked them to leave. Among these unauthorized persons present inside the polling stations 55% were office bearers of a major political party and 18% were local officials. The observers further reported that 20% of the unauthorized persons present inside the polling stations were seen interfering with the work of ECP staff. The CED observers reported that they saw some sort of campaign material inside 7% of the sampled polling stations
The CED observers stated that the layout of the voting area was adequate for conduct of polling at 86% sampled polling stations and sufficiently protected secrecy of ballot at 84% sampled polling station. Moreover, 52% of the observers stated that the layout of the voting area was suitable to voters with reduced mobility.
About transparency and facilitation of the observes at the polling stations, CED observers stated that they were initially allowed to observe polling process at all sampled polling stations but they felt restrictions towards the end of the day; 30% of them reported that undue restriction inside the polling stations.
The observers also rated the overall conduct of the polling staff; 55% of them ranked their conduct to be very good and 43% ranked it good while 2% ranked their conduct as bad.
No major law and order situation was witnessed at the sampled polling stations during the CED observation. The security situation generally remained in control of the law enforcement agencies. This tight control started affecting the observation process as closing time approached. The observers reported from various locations that the security personal asked them to leave the polling stations as soon as the polling time ends implying that they would not be able to observe counting process at these polling stations. The details of such polling stations shall be included in the third report covering the counting process.
About CED: CED is a civil society coalition for voter education, election observation and strengthening democratic institutions. Its secretariat is based at CPDI