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Pakistan is gearing up for the February 8 elections to select its next government after months of being under a caretaker setup amidst economic crisis and political instability. Here’s a breakdown of how the voting process unfolds in Pakistan:
With a staggering 128 million voters participating in electing legislators to both National and provincial assemblies, we aim to simplify the somewhat complex voting process, particularly for first-time voters.
To avoid any last-minute agitation or confusion on election day, it’s advisable to ascertain your designated polling station a day prior to the polling process. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has introduced an SMS service to aid in this endeavor.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Send an SMS: Text your ID Card number to 8300 without adding any spaces or dashes.
- Receive Details: You’ll promptly receive details about your electoral region name, block code, and serial number.
- Bring Original ID Card: Armed with this information, bring your original ID card to the polling station specified in the SMS.
- Verification Process: Upon arrival at the polling station, join the queue and approach the presiding officer (PO) who will verify your name and electoral number.
- Name Marked: Once your name is called, the PO will mark your name from the list and provide you with two papers.
- Ensure Authentication: It’s crucial to ensure the presiding officer’s signature and stamp are imprinted on the back of both ballot papers, otherwise, your vote may be invalidated. The white voting paper is designated for the provincial parliament, while the green paper is for the National Assembly.
- Thumb Impression: The presiding officer will imprint your thumb impression on the electoral rolls using a non-erasable ink.
- Check for Authenticity: Verify the presence of ECP’s watermark and the official nine-matrix seal on the ballot paper.
- Cast Your Vote: Enter the polling area and cast your vote for a single candidate, ensuring the ink is dry before properly folding the ballot papers after stamping both places.
- Deposit Ballots: Enter the voting booths and deposit the green ballot paper into the green box and the white ballot paper into the white box.