Election Commision of Pakistan says implementing a biometric system for polling would take six months

November 2, 2014 - 

With the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government election set for November 15th, Election Commission of Pakistan officials met last week to discuss whether the commission would be ready to hold polls in the province in just over two weeks, according to a report by The Nation.

At the meeting, members of ECP and provincial chief election commissioner KP discussed how the KP government’s insistence on introducing a biometric identification system for voters in LB polls would require a minimum of six months to implement.

The meeting’s attendees also consulted National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) on whether it would be feasible to buy biometric machines and print the ballot papers by November 15.

The ECP would need to print over 100 million ballot papers in seven different colors to perform local bodies’ polls in KP, which would take a printing house at least two months to complete and then distribute to every town in the province.

The provincial government through Secretary Local Government informed the ECP in a letter that the KP government was ready to hold LB polls in the province.

However, the ECP said the process of holding a local government polls is more difficult than holding general elections because it requires the ECP to print seven ballot papers in different colours – a task that is not necessary for general elections.

“Even NADRA would need two months to feed voters data into the biometric machines,” said an ECP official privy to the meeting. “We can’t hold polls the way Imran Khan wants.”

The ECP official also said that after consulting with Nadra, the ECP would refuse to hold LB polls in KP for reasons of there being an insufficient amount of time. It would also suggest the commission to hold the polls next March.

The official also argued that there was no way to settle litigation cases in the event that a voter experiences a flaw in the biometric machines.

“What if biometric machines fail to identify the genuine voter in certain constituency? How will we resolve the litigation? These are things to be settled before introducing the system,” he added.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.