All citizens above the age of 18 have a right to vote, this right is granted under the Constitution of Pakistan and United Nations Declaration of Huma Rights. If you are a Pakistani citizen aged 18 or above, as per the Constitution of Pakistan and Election Acts 2017 , you can cast vote in the upcoming General Elections for National and provincial assemblies.
In this article, we will be explaining different steps of the voting process including the eligibility criteria and step wise guide on voting procedure.
To be eligible to vote in Pakistan, you need to meet the following criteria,
- You should be 18 years of age or above,
- You should possess a valid Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) issued by NADRA Pakistan[LJ4] ,
- And you are not declared by any court as an unsound mind.
If you are 18 years or above and possess a NADRA issued CNIC card, you are automatically registered for voting by the ECP. All you have to do is to SMS your CNIC number to 8300 and view the response.
Important Steps to Take Before Election Day
If you are eligible to vote in the General Elections, you should take the following steps before election day to ensure that you do not face any difficulty on election day to vote,
A. Confirm Your Voter Registration Status
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in collaboration with NADRA provides SMS service for the public to facilitate them to check their registration status and get information about their voting constituency/area.
You can get the information by entering your CNIC number and sending a text message on 8300 through your mobile phone. After sending the message, you will receive the following information from ECP,
- Block code
- Serial number on voter’s list
- Family number
- National and Provincial Assembly constituency number
- Address of your Polling Station
This information is important, and you should save it with yourself in your phone or by writing it down on a piece of paper.
You can also visit your District Election Commissioner Office to check your voting particulars. To get the address of your District Election Commission Office, you can check ECP’s website.
B. Get Your Voter’s Particulars Corrected in Case of Mistake
You can apply for change in your voting particulars in District Election Commission Office for change or correction in your voting particulars.
- If you are somehow not registered as a voter or your voting constituency is incorrect, you can fill ‘Form 21- For Registration/ Transfer of Vote’ and submit it at District Election Commission Office.
- If your particulars - Family Number, Name, Date of Birth, Father/Husband’s Name, Address - are not correct in the electoral roll you can fill and submit ‘Form 23 - For Correction of Particulars’ at District Election Commission Office.
Note: As the voter’s lists for the February 8, 2024 General Elections are already published, the Election Commission is currently not entertaining any applications for change in voter’s particulars.
C. Get Your CNIC Ready and Find Your Polling Station’s Address
As the election day comes closer,
- Make sure you have your original CNIC on you. If you have lost your CNIC, you can get a new CNIC from any NADRA Service Center near you.
To read in detail about CNIC renewal you can check an article on our website.
Note: Any other document except the original CNIC, such as driving license or passport, will not be considered as valid identification document by the polling staff, even soft or colored copies of CNIC are not valid. If your CNIC is expired, it will still be accepted by the polling staff.
- Besides making sure that you have your CNIC, you should also get the address of your polling station. If your polling station is nearby, you can walk there. If it is far away, you should arrange for transport to the polling station to avoid any last-minute difficulties.
Tip: Carpooling with your neighbors could be a fun and economical way to get to your polling station.
- Before elections day confirm and note down the name and symbol of the candidates you wish to vote for both National Assembly and Provincial Assembly.
On the day of election, you need to take the following steps to ensure you cast your vote timely and correctly,
A. Before Getting to the Polling Station
- The voting process starts at 8 am and goes on till 5 pm.
- Get your CNIC and voting particulars to help polling staff identify your name on the Voter’s List.
- Pack yourself a small bag with a bottle of water and snacks in case you have to wait outside in line for your turn to vote at the polling station
- Once you get to your polling station, wait outside in a line. ECP staff will be present there to facilitate you.
Note: Please, be patient and follow the instructions by ECP staff closely to ensure a smooth voting process. Breaking lines and unnecessary disruption can cause delays in the voting process and create a law-and-order situation.
Also, if you see any elderly person, sick person, persons with disability (PWDs), pregnant women or mothers with young children, facilitate them by letting them get ahead in the line so they can vote easily.
- When it is your turn to vote, the voting staff will allow you to enter the hall where the votes are being cast.
B. Before Casting Your Vote
- When you are called by the Polling Officer, show them your original CNIC and your voting particulars so they can verify and cross check your details from Voter’s List for both National Assembly and Provincial Assembly.
- After verification, your voting particulars will be called out loudly by the Polling Officer so Polling Agents present in the Polling Station can cut your name off the Voter’s List.
- The Polling Officer will then help you mark your thumbprint in front of your photo and name in the National and Provincial Voter’s List(s).
Note: In Voter’s List female voters mark their right thumb’s print while male voters mark their left thumb print.
- Once your thumbprints are taken, your name on both the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly’s Voter List(s) will be cut off. And you will be guided towards Assistant Presiding Officer(s).
- The first Assistant Presiding Officer will help you mark your thumb prints on a green ballot paper for the National Assembly, stamp and sign it on the back side and then hand the ballot paper to you.
- After you get the green ballot paper for the National Assembly, you will be guided towards a second Assistant Presiding Officer.
- The second Assistant Presiding Officer will take your thumb prints on a white ballot paper for Provincial Assembly. After taking your thumb prints on the ballot paper, they will stamp and sign it on the back side.
- Then the second Assistant Presiding Officer will hand you the white ballot paper along with a stamp and guide you towards the Polling Booth to cast your vote.
Note: Keeping your vote secret is your right as well as your responsibility. If anyone tries to force you to vote for a particular candidate when you are casting your vote, immediately report it to the polling staff.
Also, as per the Elections Act 2017, it is illegal to disrupt any voter while they cast their vote or force them in any manner to vote for a particular candidate. It is also illegal to announce whom you voted for.
- Once you are inside the polling booth, stamp the name or electoral symbol of your candidate of choice on both ballot papers. Make sure you stamp inside the row in which your candidate’s name and electoral symbol is printed.
- Stamp each ballot paper only once. Your vote will not get counted if you stamp multiple places on the ballot paper.
- After stamping the ballot papers, make sure that the ink has dried up and then fold each ballot paper vertically so that the ink does not get on any other part of the ballot paper.
- Once you fold your ballot papers, return the stamp to the Assistant Presiding Officer and take back your CNIC.
- Then proceed to the table where ballot boxes are placed. Put the green ballot paper for the National Assembly in the ballot box with green lid and white ballot paper for the Provincial Assembly in the ballot box with white lid.
- Once done, silently leave the polling station.
If you are visually impaired, you can take along a trusted person (a Pakistani citizen who is over the age of 18 years and posses a CNIC) to help you in casting your vote.
The Election Presiding Officer reserves the right to check the CNIC of the person who aids you with the voting process.
Contact Election Commission of Pakistan
Or on WhatsApp at 0327-5050610
Complaint Mechanism for Individuals with Hearing Impairment
Individuals with hearing impairment can record a video of themselves to explain the issue they are facing and send it on ECP’s WhatsApp number.
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