ECP to use 150 EVM machines in Peshawar bye-election

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will use 150 electronic voting machines (EVM) on trial basis in up-coming bye-election in constituency NA-4 Peshawar.

Secretary ECP Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad in a briefing on Friday said that the commission has received the provisional report on use of biometric verification machines (BVMs) in NA-120 bye-election in Lahore and a detailed report of the pilot project would be submitted in the parliament for further legislation.

He said that the first pilot project of 100 BVM machines has been initiated in bye-election of NA-120 Lahore in 39 polling stations and 100 polling booths.

He said that the total registered voters in these polling stations were 57,265 including 30,979 male and 20,959 female voter.The data of these voters including pictures and thumb impression were fed in these BVM machines, he added.

The preliminary report indicated that 22,181 voters used this machines out of which 19,520 voters were verified through thumb impression successfully while 2,646 voters couldn’t verified, he added.

He said that the ratio of verification of voters through use of BVM machines remained 88 percent while the ratio of non-verification was 12 percent due to different reasons.

He said that the ECP has some concerns about this high ratio of non-verification as if this machine is used in general election there is chance of missing of major portion of voters in the country even this figure could be 11.6 million voters out of total 97 million registered voters.

He said that the BVM machines were used in urban constituency in NA-120 bye-election where education ratio was also high and that if this machine is used in any rural area the chances of non-verification could be very high.

The secretary said that during bye-election, the ECP has also managed the record of those voters whose pictures and thumb impression was missing with the NADRA.

He said that the BVM machines were used just for trial basis to examine its functioning and other aspects. He added voters were enthusiastically involved in the biometric process.

Replying to a question, he said that the ECP will write a letter to know about the exact figure of those whose thumb impression which was missing with the NADRA.

He said that general elections 2018 will be held under new laws.

Director General IT ECP Mohammad Khizar Aziz said that the use of BVM machines were examined in different ways and SOPs were made and followed during use of these machines in bye-election.

He said that the ECP had conducted first pilot testing using 100 biometric verification machines on 39 polling stations comprising 100 polling booths in NA-120 on using specialized devices designed and developed for election purposes.

He said that reasons behind non-verification of voters through BVM machines including un-availability of data from NADRA, non-detection of thumbs of senior citizens and dry or injured thumb of voters mainly from labour class.

He said that the battery time of BVM machines was good as majority of BVM remained functional on same battery which was installed from start of polling time. However, four machines couldn’t work in data binding, he added.

He said that due to support of Pakistan army, the ECP staff deployed for operation of BVM machines had got good response from voters to use this machine.

He said that in total 39 polling station where BVM machines were used, Pakistan Muslim League (N) was in leading position in 28 while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was successful in 11 polling stations.

He said that several new technologies were introduced in bye-election including mobile apps and goggle map.