The five-year term of the National Assembly of Pakistan comes to an end on March 17, 2013. As part of its preparations for the forthcoming general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finalized Electoral Rolls in July 2012. The new rolls replaced the previous Finalized Electoral Rolls 2007 (FER 2007) used in the general elections of 2008. The new electoral rolls have been necessitated as part of the ECP’s efforts to improve the quality of future elections, which included a legal amendment to make CNICs mandatory for voter registration.
The ECP adopted rigorous and methodical processes in the preparation of new rolls, including eliciting the services of NADRA. The rolls were finalized after their public scrutiny managed by the ECP between February 29 and March 20, 2012. Eligible voters were thus provided a valuable opportunity at 55,000 display centers set up across country to confirm their registration status and to request corrections to erroneous identification details on the Preliminary Electoral Rolls 2012. In an effort to independently verify the accuracy and completeness of PER 2012, FAFEN undertook a study encompassing three separate assessments – List-to-Voter, People-to-List and Display Period Process Assessment. The study was carried out in systematically sampled locations and display centers across the country by a total of 1,916 trained FAFEN observers.
The objectives of the study were to assess:
- The extent to which individuals listed in PER 2012 are registered in the polling areas of their residence (where they will go to cast ballots on Election Day)
- The correctness of voters’ other data in PER 2012
- The extent to which eligible voters are not yet registered in PER 2012
- The quality of the processes at display centers during the public scrutiny of PER 2012
Methodology of Assessment
The List-to-Voter audit, which is focused primarily on the accuracy of the voters list, verified a statistical sample of names taken from the electoral roll by visiting the addresses listed and interviewing those registered voters. The List-to-Voter Assessment was conducted in 2,134 sampled locations in four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The sample size included 20,068 voters listed on PER 2012 – 9,850 women and 10,218 men. Standardized checklists were employed to record each selected voter’s Voter Number, Household Number, Name, CNIC Number and Address extracted from the electoral roll. The presence of each voter was verified at his/her listed address in addition to confirming other vital identification details.
The People-to-List Assessment, which is focused primarily on the completeness of the voters list, was conducted in 2,114 sampled locations in four provinces, ICT and FATA. Ten households were randomly selected in each of the sampled locations and one eligible voter was interviewed at each household, producing a sample size of 19,278 respondents – 9,141 females and 10,137 males. Trained FAFEN staff filled standardized checklists with the Name, CNIC Number and Address of each interviewed individual and then verified their registration status and accuracy of identifying details against the designated electoral roll of each respective area.
The Display Period Process Assessment was conducted at 6,557 Display Centers in 1,196 sampled Union Councils in four provinces and in ICT and FATA. FAFEN observed the quality of display period processes administered by the ECP in order to analyze their fairness, neutrality and transparency against the ECP’s Manual of Instructions provided to the officials assigned for display center management.
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