ECP says April 15 last date to receive applications for postal ballots
No differences between Zardari, Bilawal, claims Kaira
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has fixed April 15 as last date for receipt of applications for postal ballot papers for general elections to National Assembly and provincial assemblies.
According to the ECP, this facility is being extended only to persons in the government service, members of armed forces, holders of public offices, their wives and such of their children as are registered voters and ordinarily reside with them provided that they are stationed at a place other than the constituency, where their votes are registered. Persons detained in prison or held in other custody are also entitled to vote by postal ballot. Similarly, the last date in this behalf for such polling personnel and police personnel as are posted at a polling station other than one at which they are entitled to cast their vote, has been fixed at April 25, 2013.
Persons who are appointed to act as Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and Polling Officers and the Police Personnel who are assigned duties at the polling stations, have been advised to apply for postal ballot by April 25, 2013 by which time their appointments as polling personnel are expected to have been finalized. The ECP has explained that applications for postal ballot should be made on the prescribed form with the Returning Officer of the constituency in which such persons, are enrolled as voters. Forms for postal ballot can be obtained from any Returning Officer. The voters to whom postal ballots are issued will not be entitled to vote in person at polling stations and applications will have to be forwarded or endorsed by the office or department of voter to guard against unauthorized person applying for postal ballot.
The form of application indicates the name of applicant, his or her father's name, or, in the case of female applicant, the name of her father or husband, CNIC number in addition to the address and serial number of the elector in the electoral roll, (with part thereof i.e. male, female) along with the name of electoral area where he or she is registered as voter. The number and name of the constituency of the elector has also to be given in the application. The applica- tion should be filed or sent by post under the signature or thumb impression of the applicant with the Returning Officer of the constituency, where the elector has been registered as a voter. Such applications should, in no case, be addressed to the Election Commission Secretariat at Islamabad or the Provincial Election Commissioners. The Returning Officers will send a postal ballot paper to an applicant making request for it, together with one large envelop marked "B" addressed to himself; one small envelop marked "A" and declaration form accompanied by printed instructions for guidance of applicant.
The Commission has stated that persons entitled to vote by postal ballot should file their applications with the respective Returning Officers for National Assembly constituency and Provincial Assembly constituency separately for each election. An elector, who has received a postal ballot paper and desires to vote, shall record his vote on the ballot by writing, in legible hand, the name of the candidate, for whom he or she wishes to vote. For this purpose, a blank space has been provided on the postal ballot paper. Furthermore, an elector, after writing the name of the candidate of his or her choice on the postal ballot, will place it in the smaller envelop marked "A" and will close it and secure it by seal or otherwise.
The elector shall sign declaration in prescribed form in presence of a Gazetted Officer or a Commissioned Officer to whom he or she will be person- ally known or to whose satisfaction he or she has been identified, and his or her signature attested by such officer.
After the elector has signed the declaration and got his or her signature attested, he or she will put the declaration form and the smaller envelop marked "A" containing the ballot paper into the larger cover marked "B" and will send, after closing the larger cover, to the Returning Officer concerned by post. It must be noted that a postal ballot paper will be rejected if it is not accompanied by a duly attested and certified Declaration. The Commission states that those applying for a postal ballot should also note that if the envelop "B" containing the declaration and the envelop "A" with ballot paper in it, reaches the Returning Officer after the date and time fixed for consolidation of the statements of the count, the vote will not be counted. Moreover, if an elector is illiterate or is unable, through physical infirmity, to write the name of candidate of his or her choice on a postal ballot paper and sign the declaration, he or she shall be entitled to have his or her vote recorded and his or her declaration signed by Gazetted Officer or a Commissioned Officer. Such Gazetted Officer or Commissioned Officer shall, thereupon, write the name of candidate in the appropriate place on postal ballot paper in accordance with wishes of elector in his or her presence and sign declaration on behalf of elector and complete the appropriate certificate contained in declaration form.