KARACHI: Soon after polling ended across the country, most political parties — including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — protested that their polling agents were not being given Form 45 on Wednesday. Form 45 is one of the most important documents of the post-polling process and here’s why:

Q. What is form 45?

A. Form 45, previously Form 14, is known as the statement of the count, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan. It is supposed to show the number of valid votes for each contesting candidate and ballot papers excluded from the count. This form also includes gender-disaggregated data on the basis of male and female voters scored out from the electoral rolls in the relevant polling booth(s).

Q. Can these details be shared?

A. The result of this data can be shared with polling agents and candidates present at polling stations.

The form is also signed by the presiding officer, assistant presiding officer, and an accredited observer and agents as may be present. The presiding officer may note on the forms if any such person refused to sign. Copies of the polling station results forms are stamped and thumb marked by the presiding officer and the most senior assistant presiding officer, and should be given to candidates and agents present with a receipt obtained.

Q. How are these forms sent to the ECP?

The presiding officer takes a screenshot of the form and uploads it onto the Results Transmission System, an Android application which enables election officers to send the results to the ECP in real time.

Presiding officers are required to immediately send a screenshot of the form (as soon as internet connectivity is available and permitted) electronically to the ECP and returning officer before sending the original documents.

The RTS software was installed in the smartphones of all presiding officers so that they could transmit Form 45 (containing tabulated results of the polling station) via their phone to the ECP on election day.

For polling officers without smartphones, the RTS software was downloaded in smartphones of other members of the election staff.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2018

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