Duties and functions

No one should try to put pressure on us on EVMs: ECP

Representative image of the electronic voting machine. Photo: archive file

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) said on Friday that it had taken various measures regarding electronic voting machines (EVMs) even before the legislation was passed and that it was fully aware of its obligations and that no one should not try to coerce her, reported The news the Saturday.

A spokesperson for the ECP, referring to sections of the media, said it was wrong to believe the Commission was ignoring its responsibilities regarding the use of computerized voting machines.

“In this regard, the Election Commission would like to point out that even before the rules for electronic voting machines, it took various measures regarding the use of technology. Immediately after the related legislation, the Commission formed three technology committees, which briefed the Election Commission on their work on December 23, 2021, ”he said.

The Commission argued that the purchase of an electronic voting machine was a technical process that required several steps in addition to international tendering, the most important of which was the design of a framework for the automating electoral processes, finalizing general requirements specifications according to PPRA rules, preparing technical specifications according to international standards and identifying functions, characteristics and business process flows required to purchase an electronic voting machine.

The manager stressed the importance of following PPRA rules and international standards when purchasing these machines. The statement states that the ECP must also confirm that the machine vendor is not specific to that vendor, and third party testing of the equipment must be undertaken. This equipment can be used to ensure that elections are free and fair. This technique is used by some people, he said.

The ECP spokesperson said that there is a lack of clarity in this area, which leads to such reckless statements, which are equal to misleading the public, civil society, organizations and the media.

“In this regard, if anyone needs an explanation, the doors of the electoral commission are open. No one should interfere in the work of the electoral commission and this tendency to pressure should stop. The commission is obliged to discharge its responsibilities and will exercise its functions without any pressure, ”he said.

2023 elections will be the most expensive in Pakistan history with the use of EVMs

In an earlier report, it was stated that with an estimated cost of Rs 424 billion to arrange for electronic voting for 133 million indigenous voters and 10 million foreign voters, the next general election will be possibly the most expensive ballot in Pakistan’s history. .

These are the consolidated estimates which Geo News collected from electoral regulatory bodies including the PCE, federal and provincial governments, political parties, donors, NGOs and candidates.

According to an estimate given by the ECP, the 2023 elections will cost the federal government about 1,000 times more than the last three general elections, which totaled Rs28.6 billion. The use of electronic voting devices for national and international voters represents a significant part of the expenditure.

In addition, the estimated cost of the upcoming elections is close to the budget allocated to the country’s largest province, Balochistan, for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which was 584.1 billion rupees.

It is estimated that nearly 47 billion rupees will be spent on transport, voting, training, printing, remuneration and security, if the ECP opts for the traditional voting system. But nearly 230 billion rupees will be spent on EVMs and their related expenses, while out-of-country voting operations are expected to cost 100 billion rupees, according to key stakeholders.

The ECP will also have to pay Rs 17 billion for security arrangements, as approximately 0.9 million security personnel, including approximately 20,000 private security personnel, will be deployed to polling stations. Almost 50,000 CCTV cameras will also be installed in polling stations on polling day.