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ISLAMABAD: The Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday sent passwords to 7,364 overseas voters to use it for I-voting process for by-elections in 35 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies scheduled for Oct 14.

The passwords have been sent at the email addresses provided by the voters at the time of their online registration.

On polling day, the voter shall log in to the website using his/her user name and password and enter the voter pass emailed to him/her earlier. This will direct the voter to registered constituencies of national and provincial assemblies to enable him/her to cast the vote.

A designated list of candidates of the selected constituency would then be displayed by the system and the voter shall select the election symbol of the candidate to cast the vote. Upon successful submission of the vote, a “confirmation” message would be displayed on the screen.

The ECP had already uploaded on its website separate video tutorials in Urdu and English languages, as well as step-by-step help materials to guide voters through the registration and voting process.

An ECP official explained that originally the number of registered overseas voters was 7,419 for 37 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies, it but come down to 7,364 after unopposed elections in PP-296 (Rajanpur) and PP-87 (Mianwali).

He said the overseas voters would be able to cast their votes using the password from 8am to 5pm (Pakistan Standard Time) on polling day.

The campaign to register overseas Pakistanis for internet-voting in the Oct 14 by-polls evoked a lukewarm response, with only 7,419 expatriates out of the total 632,000 registering to avail the facility offered to them for the first time in the country’s electoral history.

The process of registration of overseas Pakistanis from the constituencies where by-elections are to be held had started on Sept 1.

According to the statistics, as many as 1,353 voters from NA-243, 1,126 from NA-131, 698 from NA-69, 641 from NA-53, 567 from NA-60, 510 from NA-124, 321 from NA-63, 312 from NA-63, 312 from NA-65, 304 from NA-35, 230 from NA-55 and 68 from NA-103 had registered themselves as voters.

For provincial assemblies’ elections, 253 voters registered from PP-27, 185 from PK-44 and 117 for PP-201. In the rest of the constituencies, the number of registered voters is below 100. In one of constituencies in Khuzdar, only one voter has registered himself.

Many believe that it will be known to all, to whom he/she casted his/her vote, something that might invite trouble for his/her family members in areas like Khuzdar.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018