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Nadra develops machine to ensure rigging-free polls

13 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), in the wake of ongoing thumb print verification controversy, has taken proactive initiative by developing electronic voting machine (EVM), proposed to be placed on all polling stations across the country, a Nadra spokesperson said.

The system aims at ensuring transparent and rigging free elections because each voter will be able to cast only one vote.Electronic thumb verification of each voter shall be done at the respective polling station before casting the vote without the use of magnetized ink. The new EVM solution will incur only 40 percent of total cost of magnetized ink which amounts to Rs2.5 billion.

The Nadra chairman said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and political parties would also be taken into confidence relating to the use of EVM enabling voters exercising their right of franchise in an ambience of confidentiality and security.

"It is up to political parties and the ECP to discuss the solution and analyze its practicability. I have done my job, "said Tariq Malik. While briefing the media, Nadra chairman Tariq Malik stated that the EVM is a combination of three components, involved in vote casting procedures. A special attention has been paid to ensure voters' convenience, keeping in view the sensitivity of security and credibility of proposed system. He said EVM will be installed at each polling station which have electronic voter list.

The first component of EVM is "Voter Identification Unit," which entails that voter identification will be carried out through CNIC provided voter is registered on the given polling station. On successful identification, voter authentication process will be initiated through which finger prints of voters will be verified against biometric in Nadra database. On successful authentication, voter will be allowed to cast his/her vote through vote casting unit.

The second component of EVM is "Vote Casting Unit" which says that on successful authentication, voter will be mapped to respective constituency and list of candidates will be displayed. Voter will choose candidate of his/her choice and will exercise right of franchise with utmost confidentiality and security. Selection of candidate by voter will be recorded in local database as well as on printed ballot. During this process, voter will be provided with assistance through multimedia.

And the third component of EVM is "Result Management Unit" whereby once polling is done, vote casting unit will print list of candidates along with number of bagged votes. This system-generated list will be reconciled by presiding officer through manual counting of printed ballots in presence of polling agents nominated by participating candidates.

The Nadra chairman is also scheduled to give detailed demonstration and briefing on the EVM to Chief Election Commissioner Justice Nasirul Mulk and members of the ECP next week."Electoral transparency is possible by making use of technology, and I am proud that Nadra has delivered on its promise to Nation," Said Tariq Malik. It is pertinent to mention here that in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Nadra also devised electronic voting software to help 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the general elections-2013.

End.

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