State of Electoral Rolls in Pakistan

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Publication No: ER-039

Rs 3,000  

In a democracy, holding of free and fair election depends on the up-to-date and error-free Voters List. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, the Chief Election Commissioner is charged with the crucial responsibility of preparing and making available a correct and complete enrolment of all eligible voters. In Pakistan, the Election Commission, for the first time in the history of the country, announced to prepare Computerised Electoral Rolls in April 2006 ahead of the General Elections. The process of preparing of fresh Electoral Rolls raised many questions about the manner in which the exercise was undertaken. After the display of draft Electoral Rolls in June 2007, it was estimated that around 28 Million or around 33 % of eligible voters remained unregistered. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, deciding on a petition moved by the PPP Chairperson regarding approximately 28 Million missing voters in the new list, ordered the ECP to include in the new list all those voters who were in the 2002 Voters List but have not been enrolled. The Electoral Rolls used in February 2008 General Elections, therefore, contained approximately 81 Million voters. It remains the Constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan to update the Electoral Rolls annually. While the next General Election is due by 2013, the Local Government Election is expected to be held during 2010 and it is necessary that the Electoral Rolls in Pakistan are error-free ahead of any elections in Pakistan. This paper traces the progress on Computerised Electoral Rolls in Pakistan after February 2008 General Election, note the progress in removing issues identified in Computerised Electoral Rolls, and the new round of collaboration between the ECP and the NADRA to produce accurate Electoral Rolls for future elections. The paper also identifies some key questions that need to be addressed in order to restore people’s faith in the Electoral Rolls in particular and the electoral process in general.

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