Counting of Votes (General Elections) Order 2002
10th September, 2002
WHEREAS, in pursuance of Article 218 (3) of the Constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan read with Article 5 (3) of the Election Commission order, 2002 Chief Executive's Order No.1 of 2002), it is the duty of election Commission to organize and conduct the elections and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.
AND WHEREAS, elaborate arrangements have been made by the Election Commission for making the election fair and transparent.
AND WHEREAS, it is expedient and in the public interest to further streamline the process of counting of votes at the poling stations, communication and announcement of preliminary results of elections and consolidation of election results to make the process more transparent.
NOW THEREFORE, in exercise of its powers conferred under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, Articles 593) and 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002 (Chief Executive's Order No.1 of 2002) and all other powers enabling it is that behalf, the Election Commission is pleased to make the following Order for the forthcoming General Elections:
1. Short title, extent and commencement.-(1) This Order may be called the Counting of Votes (General Elections) Order 2002.
(2) It shall come into force at once and shall apply for the forthcoming General Elections, subject to the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (LXXXV of 1976).
(3) It extends to whole of Pakistan.
2. Definitions.- The definitions appearing in the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (LXXXV of 1976) hereinafter called as `the Act' and the rules framed thereunder shall be applicable for the purpose of this Order.
3. Counting of votes at the Polling Stations.- (1) At the end of the poll, Presiding Officer shall collect in the polling stations all ballot boxes, used at each booth of his polling station for the purpose of counting of votes in the presence of the Polling Agents as may be present.
(2) While carrying ballot boxes from the polling booth to the counting place, the polling staff and the polling agents at that polling booth shall accompany the ballot box.
(3) The Presiding Officer shall first open the ballot boxes containing ballot papers for National Assembly in the presence of polling staff and polling agents. If a candidate, his election agent or an authorized observer is present at the polling stations, he shall also be allowed to witness the counter.
(4) The Presiding Officer shall take out all ballot papers from the ballot box and show the empty ballot box to the polling agents present at the station.
(5) The Presiding Officer shall, in the first instances, examine the ballot papers and separate the ballot papers, if any, of Provincial Assembly, which were inserted by mistake by the voters in the ballot box (s) of National Assembly and place them in safe custody. He shall then count the entire lot of ballot papers taken out from the ballot box (s).
(6) The Presiding Officer shall, before preparation of statement of count for the National Assembly, open the ballot boxes of the Provincial Assembly Election and examine as to whether the ballot paper, if any, for the National Assembly Election has been inserted in those ballot boxes. In case, any ballot paper of the National Assembly election is found in the ballot box(s) of Provincial assembly, he will take out those ballot papers and after determining their status include in the statement of count to be prepared by the Presiding Officer for the National Assembly Election.
(7) He shall open the packets bearing the label challenged ballot papers and count them.
(8) The Presiding Officer shall then examine validity of each ballot paper cast in favour of a candidate and shall exclude from the count a ballot paper which bears.
(i) no official mark and signature of the Presiding Officer;
(ii) any writing or any mark other than the official mark, the signature of the Presiding Officer and the prescribed mark or to which a piece of paper or any other object of any kind has been a attached;
(iii) no prescribed mark to indicate the contesting candidate for whom the elector has voted; or
(iv) any mark from which it is not clear for whom the elector has voted:
Provided that a ballot paper shall be deemed to have been marked in favour of a candidate if the whole or more than half of the area of the prescribed mark appears clearly within the space containing the name and symbol of that candidate and, where the prescribed mark is divided equally between two such spaces, the ballot paper shall be deemed invalid.
(9) The Presiding Officer shall then proceed to sort out ballot papers candidate-wise in separate stacks and count separately in respect of each contesting candidate in the alphabetical order of their names as appearing on the ballot paper, the ballot papers which are unambiguously marked in favour of that candidate and put each lot in a separate packet bearing the name and symbol of the contesting candidate to which it relates.
(10) The Presiding Officer shall then count of challenged votes of National Assembly, if any, and indicate their number in the relevant column of the statement of the count (Form-XIV).
(11) The Presiding Officer shall ten prepare a statement of count in the prescribed form and shall provide a carbonized copy of the statement to the polling agents present at the polling station. He shall obtain signatures of polling agents as may be present on the statement of count before issuing it.
(12) A copy of statement of the cont duly signed by the Presiding Officer shall be affixed at a prominent place outside the polling station immediately after the preparation of the statement of the count for information of general public.
(13) A copy of the statement of count shall be sealed in an envelope which shall be put in the polling bag required to be sent to the Returning Officer.
(14) The Presiding Officer shall arrange to deliver a copy of statement of the count, duly sealed in an envelope, to the concerned Returning Officer by the quickest possible means.
4. Count of provincial assembly ballot papers.- The Presiding Officer shall then proceed which the counting of votes for the Provincial Assembly constituency including those ballot papers which were taken out of ballot boxes of National Assembly, prepare the statement of the count and send it to the Returning Officer in the aforesaid manner.
5. Announcement of the preliminary results of a constituency.- (1) The returning Officer of the constituency on receipt of the statements of he count from all Polling stations in his jurisdiction shall sum up the total votes cast in favour of each candidate in the presence of candidates and or their election agents as may be present in his office.
(2) After rechecking of the figures, the Returning Officer shall prepare a statement containing preliminary result in the (Annexed format) for the entire constituency and get signatures thereupon of candidates and/or their election agents as may be present.
(3) The Returning Officer shall then announce the preliminary result of election of his constituency LOCALLY and a copy thereof shall be affixed outside the office of Returning Officer for information of the general public.
(4) The Returning Officer shall convey result of election over telephone to Election Commission Secretariat, Islamabad and shall also send the result sheet through telefax.
6. Receipt of election results at Election Commission Secretariat, Islamabad. (1) Appropriate arrangements shall be made in the Election Commission Secretariat, Islamabad for receiving preliminary results from the Returning Officers for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies Constituencies.
(2) A designated officer shall receive preliminary result of a constituency over telephone and telefax from the Returning Officer and shall enter the same in a result sheet and shall sign it.
(3) The preliminary result of elections of a constituency shall then be released to print and electronic media.
7. Consolidation of result. (1) In pursuance of section 39 of the Act, the Returning Officer shall give the contesting candidates and their Election Agents, a notice in writing of the day, time and place fixed for consolidation of the results. The Returning Officer shall observe in letter and spirit the procedure laid down for consolidation of result as contemplated by Section 39 of the act.
(2) The final result of election shall be dispatched by the Returning Officer to the Election Commission immediately thereafter, through special messenger.
8. Publication in the official Gazette the names of returned candidates. Pursuant to the provisions contained in sub-Section (4) of section 42 of the Act, the Election Commission shall publish in the official Gazette, the names of the returned candidates provided that the result of a returned candidate shall not be published, who fails to submit the return of expenses specified in sub-section (3A) of section 42 of the Act, which says that every returned candidate shall, within ten days from the poll of an election, submit a return of election expenses in accordance with the provisions of section 50 of the Act.
By order of the Election Commission