ISLAMABAD: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic problems, the turnout in the by-election of PS-52 Umerkot-II appeared to be as high as 60pc, with a low incidence of procedural violations of the specified standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The promising trend suggests strengthened management by the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP).
This was the first by-election held since the ECP’s decision to suspend all the country’s by-polls due to the Covid-19 outbreak last year.
Following the death of Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) MPA Syed Ali Mardan Shah in January last year, the Umerkot by-election was triggered.
Observers verify fair and disciplined process, better election management
A total of 76 procedural violations during the lobbying, canvassing, voting and counting procedures and security arrangements have been recorded by FAFEN-trained observers, averaging less than one violation per polling station.
A total of 30 non-partisan and properly certified observers, 25 males and five females, were deployed by FAFEN to track the procedures at 99 polling stations, 22 for males and 26 for females, as well as 51 combined.
The polling at the stations observed was confirmed to be in a coordinated fashion in general. In different rooms, approximately 85pc of them had polling booths. The remaining 15pc, however, had more than one booth in a single r-23 male, 27 female, and six combined.
At 97pc of the polling stations, polling agents of the contesting candidates were present and all of them were seated at a position where they could conveniently observe the process.
Observers from FAFEN have questioned electors about their level of satisfaction with the method of voting. None of the electors showed frustration. Voters outside polling stations of 87pc shared their total satisfaction with the operation, while those outside the remaining ones were somewhat or partly pleased.
In all of the polling stations observed, except for one consolidated polling station, the election materials were found to be in insufficient amounts. No instance of polling workers disallowing an elector from casting his/her ballot was seen by the observers. With the exception of two cases involving unidentified people entering behind the hidden screens at two polling stations, no other incidents have violated the privacy of voters.