The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has explained what would count as a valid or an invalid vote when the country goes to the polls on Wednesday, DawnNewsTV reported.

In a letter addressed to presiding officers, the ECP listed down the requirements that a ballot paper would have to meet in order to be included in the counting process.

Explainer: Anatomy of the polling process

The watchdog, in its instructions, said that a ballot paper will be termed invalid if:

  • it's missing the official code mark or assistant presiding officer's signature

  • it's missing the ECP's watermark

  • it's missing the official nine-matrix seal

  • it has a paper or anything else attached to it

  • it has stamps on more than one candidate's election symbols

  • it appears equally in more than one candidates' boxes

The ECP, however, added that a stamp which appears in multiple boxes but a prominent portion of which is in favour of a particular candidate, will be counted as a valid vote.

Multiple stamps on the symbol of a particular candidate, as well as stamps on both the symbol and the name of a candidate will also be counted as valid votes, the ECP explained.

Last week, the ECP released a notification informing voters, polling staff and political parties of actions that would constitute as crimes on election day and would fall under the jurisdiction of the district returning officers.

Asking a voter who they voted for, spoiling ballot papers or stamps in any way, taking a picture of the ballot paper are some of the actions that would land the offender in jail for upto three months, result in fines upto Rs100,000, or both.

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