ECP carries out ‘successful’ test of Election Management System ahead of Feb 8 polls

Election watchdog acknowledges “connectivity issues” during exercise involving RO offices at 859 locations

A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. — File
A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. — File
  • EMS to act as automated transmission and tabulation of poll results.
  • Mock test involved RO offices at 859 locations across the country.
  • ECP spokesperson acknowledges connectivity issue during exercise.

With the February 8 polls less than two weeks away, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Saturday carried out a “successful” mock test of its Election Management System (EMS) with useful and encouraging results.

The EMS, an automated and modern management system developed for tabulation of the election results, would be used by the ECP in the upcoming general elections to transmit and compile election results from presiding officers to returning officers.

During the exercise involving Returning Officers’ (RO) offices at 859 locations across the country, as per the electoral body’s spokesperson, presiding officers were able to deliver results satisfactorily.

The exercise saw the effective accomplishment of result transmission by presiding officers and subsequent compilation and tabulation by ROs without any issue, the spokesperson said, adding that if a presiding officer encounters difficulty in transmitting results to the RO via mobile phone, they are instructed to personally deliver the election results to the RO’s office.

With the exercise involving fibre/DSL connectivity, EMS app log-in, usage, and the steps for results transmission and editing, the spokesperson acknowledged that the activity did face connectivity challenges causing minor issues in transmitting results to some presiding officers.

However, the official said that the aforesaid connectivity issues are being promptly addressed.

The development comes as elections in Pakistan have been marred with allegations of irregularities and rigging with political parties also raising questions on the ECP’s mechanism of transmitting, compiling and tabulating the poll results.

During the 2018 general elections, the electoral body utilised its Results Transmission System (RTS) which, as per an ECP statement, suffered a “technical glitch” as it was being updated with election result data — leading to an overall delay in the announcement of poll results.

The delay drew ire from political parties who have since then termed the polls as “RTS elections” — a political jibe against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which triumphed in the 2018 general elections.

However, it is to be seen how the electoral body’s EMS performs on February 8 for which the ECP has envisaged a total of 90,675 polling stations with 276,402 polling booths for more than 128 million voters who will be electing their representatives on the said day, reported The News.

In Punjab, 50,944 polling stations will be established for the general elections, followed by 19,006 in Sindh, 15,697 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 5,028 in Balochistan.

With additional input from APP


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