Lahore:The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is preparing to train polling staff for the May 11 general elections with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).At the launch of its training program for master trainers, the ECP demonstrated the polling process which includes several new initiatives taken to increase transparency and public confidence in the elections.
Initiatives to be introduced at polling stations in the upcoming elections include the use of electoral rolls with voters’ photographs, new counting forms and tamper evident bags. A mock polling station was set up during the launch and the polling process was demonstrated to guests and the media. A similar mock polling exercise will be used to train over 700,000 presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers who will be engaged on 11 May throughout the country.
Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP in Pakistan, congratulated the Election Commission of Pakistan on its new initiatives, and said, “With these new measures, the polling process has improved significantly. The new counting forms enable much greater transparency on voter turnout including recording gender-disaggregated turnout. The introduction of tamper evident bags to transport these forms will help deter fraud and increase public confidence. 600,000 tamper evident bags are being provided by UNDP to the ECP for these elections.”
UNDP is providing assistance to the Election Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with UN Women and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in areas such as training, results management and voter education through a three year electoral cycle support project supported by the Governments of Australia, Norway and the European Union. With the support of UNDP, ECP has launched a voter education campaign targeted at inclusion of youth and women, as well as a new elections results management system for upcoming national and provincial elections.