As Pakistan gears up for the upcoming national elections on February 8, it faces a critical moment in its democratic history. The outcome of this election will determine the future of the country’s leadership and shape the destiny of its 128 million voters.
Participating in civic activities is a crucial aspect of building a strong democracy. And voting is the most effective way to ensure your voice is heard in Pakistan. Here is a comprehensive guide to the process of casting your vote in Pakistan’s elections.
Voter Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible to vote in Pakistan, you must:
- Be a citizen of the country
- Be at least 18 years old
- Possess a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA)
- Not be declared unsound by a competent court
- Be deemed a resident in the electoral area, which is determined by the address on your CNIC.
While registration is open year-round, once the election schedule is announced, the electoral rolls are frozen, and no new registrations are permitted until after the elections are held.
To check if you are registered, you can SMS your CNIC number to 8300 to receive information about your polling station and eligibility.
Casting Your Vote
- To cast your vote, you must present yourself in person at the polling station with your original CNIC; copies will not be accepted.
- The presiding officer will check your name and number in the electoral list, call it out, and strike it off to indicate that a ballot has been issued to you.
- Because national and provincial assembly elections are held on the same day, you will be provided with two ballot papers.
- The presiding officer will stamp and sign the back of each ballot paper, and your vote will only be counted if the stamp or signatures are present.
- After receiving your ballot papers, mark the space containing the name and symbol of your preferred candidate using the provided stamp.
- Fold the ballot paper lengthwise to prevent ink from spreading and insert it into the ballot box.
- Your vote may be rejected if the ink spills onto other candidates’ spaces.
- If you are unable to vote on your own, the presiding officer may allow you to receive assistance to complete the process.
Your participation in the democratic process is a powerful tool for shaping the future of the nation. Your vote counts, and each one contributes to Pakistan’s democratic journey. Let your voice be the driving force behind positive change.