Nearly 106 million men and women in Pakistan are going to cast their vote on July 25th to determine the fate of more than 12,000 candidates fighting for 270 national and 570 provincial assembly seats. The Pakistan elections 2018 are being closely watched by the world because the outcome will determine what direction the country will take amid the economic crisis and political instability.
The 2018 general elections have become more interesting. Former PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, one of the most influential players in Pakistani politics, was jailed for 10 years in a corruption case right before the elections. The election campaigns by political parties have ended, and people are going to cast their votes on Wednesday, July 25th. Here’s our guide to when the Pakistan elections 2018 polling is going to start, how you can cast your vote, and how to find your polling station.
Pakistan elections 2018: Polling schedule
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), voting across all polling stations will start at 8 AM on Wednesday and will continue till 6 PM without any break. It’s the first time in history that the ECP has extended polling time to 10 hours.
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There will be a complete ban on political campaigns, canvassing, and soliciting votes within the radius of 400 meters of a polling booth on the polling day. The Election Commission permits political parties to educate voters on how to cast their votes in Pakistan elections 2018, but that’s about it. Political parties cannot exhibit notices, banners, flags, or signs.
When will you know the results?
Counting of votes will begin the same day (July 25th) after voting is over. The early trends – such as who is leading and who is trailing – begin to emerge at around 11 PM. Counting will continue till around 1-2 AM on July 26th, when you’ll get to know which party (or coalition of parties) is coming to power. Votes on the disputed seats are counted again the next morning. The ECP will officially declare the results by 1-2 PM on Thursday, July 26th.
How to find your polling station
On the eve of Pakistan elections 2018, many people have no idea where to go to vote. Thankfully, the Election Commission has made it pretty easy to find your polling station. All you have to do is pull out your phone and send your CNIC number via text message to 8300. You’ll receive an automated message with all the details including census block code, polling station, serial number, constituency, and the electoral area. You should save the received information because it will prove useful on the polling day.
Alternatively, you can also find your polling station from the provincial or regional offices of the Election Commission.
How to cast your vote in Pakistan elections 2018
All set to vote on the big day? Here’s how, according to the Elections Act 2017, you can cast your vote:
- Go to your polling station. The Presiding Officer will verify your identity by asking you to present your National Identity Card or through biometric verification system.
- After verifying your identity, the Presiding Officer will issue you a ballot paper stamped on its back with the official mark.
- You’ll receive an indelible ink mark on any finger or thumb of either hand as stated by the Election Commission.
- The Presiding Officer will record on the counterfoil of your ballot paper the number of your National Identity Card before stamping it, signing it, and obtaining your thumb impression
- The Polling Officer will also take your thumb impression on the space provided on the electoral roll
- After receiving the ballot paper, head over to the area reserved for marking the ballot paper
- Now you have to put the prescribed mark on the ballot paper within the space containing the name and symbol of the candidate you want to vote for
- Fold the ballot paper and put it in the ballot box
That’s it. You’re done! The Election Commission warns that people who fail to produce their National Identity Card will not be issued a ballot paper. Don’t forget to carry your original National Identity Card when going to cast your vote. Blind or physically challenged voters who need the assistance of another person while voting can speak to the Presiding Officer. The Officer shall allow them a companion for assistance.
Pakistan elections 2018 will be the most expensive election in the country’s history. The Election Commission estimates to spend nearly PKR 21 billion in this election compared to PKR 4.8 billion spent to conduct the 2013 elections. To ensure a fair, safe, and secure election, about 350,000 troops and 450,000 cops have been deployed across the country.