KARACHI, Sept 23: Although almost every political party expressed its serious concerns over what was described as ‘serious irregularities’ in the new computerised electoral rolls, the Sindh election commission has received only 776 corrections from across the province during the last one month.
The electoral rolls were displayed on July 31 in every district of the province, showing a reduction of over 1.1 million in the number of voters compared to the electoral rolls of 2007.
In the electoral rolls of 2007, the total number of voters in Sindh was 19,539,510 while in the newly displayed electoral rolls the number declined to 18,432,877, showing a reduction of 1,106,633 voters.
The political parties had questioned the massive decrease and said that the number of voters should have increased in Sindh in view of the fact that thousands of youths had reached the age of 18 during the last five years and got their computerised national identity cards.
However, from Aug 1 to Aug 31, the election commission received 703 forms under Section 18 of the Electoral Rolls Act 1974 for addition of names, 58 for deletion on account of death of voters and other reasons and only 15 forms for correction of names or addresses or other particulars across the province.
Provincial Election Commissioner Sono Khan Baloch told Dawn that the new electoral rolls were prepared by the National Database Registration Authority on the basis of the CNICs, which would be compulsory for every voter to exercise his right of franchise.
He said that the political parties ought to come forward to motivate people to get prepared their CNICs and help them fill the form to get their name enrolled in the voters’ lists and if their name was shown in other district or the electoral constituency other than their residency area, they could get it corrected by filling a form made available with all district registration officers and assistant registration officers.
Answering a question, he said that the election commission would continue to update the electoral rolls by publishing supplementary lists every month till the announcement of the election schedule.
He said if any political party had information of dropping out any locality from registration in the electoral rolls, it should be brought to the knowledge of the election commission, which would arrange a mobile team to visit the site and enrol the left out voters.
Sources said that the reason for a sharp decline in the voters’ lists was the elimination of those voters whose names appeared in multiple constituencies. In the present list, there was no possibility of duplication of voters, they added.
They said it appeared that by the time election schedule would be announced the number of voters applying for addition of their names, deletion and correction would fall to fewer than a couple of hundred.