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Pakistan to test electronic voting machines for elections

Avatar Written by Maheen Kanwal · 1 min read>
Pakistan Vote

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has signed an agreement to procure electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometric verification machines (BVMs) for a trial run in by-elections.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqub Fateh Muhammad said that once these EVMs and BVMs machines are delivered by vendors in 10 weeks, they will be used in multiple pilot projects in upcoming by-elections to see their results. Director General (Admin) retired Brig Abbas Ali and Chief Executive Officer of M/s Smartmatic International Holding signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations to procure 150 EVMs.

The bids for EVMs and BVMs were invited from international vendors last year. Six vendors of EVMs and five vendors of BVMs participated in the bidding process, out of which, three firms qualified for supplying EVMs and two for BVMs.

According to the ECP Secretary, the voters, parliamentarians, lawmakers, civil society organization and the general public will be invited to witness the testing of these technologies. After the trial run in by-elections, the EVMs and BVMs will be employed in the general elections. A committee comprising of experts from different government organizations will be constituted that will check the quality, merits and demerits of new technologies.

The election officers and staff will also be trained to use the new system. He also said that the new EVMs would cost around Rs 35 billion for more than 0.3 million polling booths. The Secretary said that the new system equipped with latest technologies will bring about reforms in the electoral system of Pakistan.

Talking about the proneness to fraud, a senior ECP official told Dawn that EVMs installed at polling stations are vulnerable to hacking via Bluetooth signals and other forms of wireless connectivity. Also, the biometric system has 10-15 percent margin of error. The committee should keep all of these things in mind while testing the new system.

Written by Maheen Kanwal
Maheen Kanwal is a Tech Journalist at TechJuice. She covers the latest technological, telecom and business related, local & global news. (Reach at maheen@techjuice.pk) Profile

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