WDCO

Voter Education Workshop Under First Vote Campaign

Introduction:

WDCO implemented the Vote First campaign in three districts of Balochistan including Sibi, Sohbatpur, and Jaffarabad with the support of The Asia Foundation. WDCO is a reputable non-governmental organization, headed by Mr. Muhammad Hanif, and has remained actively engaged on key development issues related to vulnerable populations especially women across the Balochistan province. Under the initiative, WDCO requested The Asia Foundation, to provide voter education to women and youth, especially first-time voters, in the underdeveloped districts of Sibi, Sohbatpur, and Jaffarabad. These districts are believed to have high prevalence of women and youth, while access to any information in this day and age is limited due to their remote location and tribal setup. Besides several hurdles and access constraints people getting awareness about vote rights through awareness sessions in which this activity was one of the major initiatives to adhere education among those who fear to participate in this process due to extreme poverty, illiteracy and feudal system.
The Asia Foundation conducted a motivational and educational campaign titled ‘Vote First’ in 7 District across three (3) provinces of Pakistan. The campaign was conducted prior to the general elections being held on July 25, 2018 across Pakistan. The goal of this campaign was to increase participation of voters, especially youth and women, belonging to the remote locations of the selected districts across Pakistan
 

District Covered

WDCO implemented the Vote First campaign in three districts of Balochistan including Sibi, Sohbatpur, and Jaffarabad with the support of The Asia Foundation. WDCO is a reputable non-governmental organization, headed by Mr. Muhammad Hanif, and has remained actively engaged on key development issues related to vulnerable populations especially women across the Balochistan province. Under the initiative, WDCO requested The Asia Foundation, to provide voter education to women and youth, especially first-time voters, in the underdeveloped districts of Sibi, Sohbatpur, and Jaffarabad. These districts are believed to have high prevalence of women and youth, while access to any information in this day and age is limited due to their remote location and tribal setup. Besides several hurdles and access constraints people getting awareness about vote rights through awareness sessions in which this activity was one of the major initiatives to adhere education among those who fear to participate in this process due to extreme poverty, illiteracy and feudal system.
 

Training Session

Mr. Alam started every training session with the name of Allah almighty and shouted with Pakistan Zindabad slogan; in return the audiences replied inspirationally. The master trainer divided training session into three following steps.
(1)   Knowledge sharing session
(2)   Theoretical Voting Practice
(3)   Practical Demonstration
  • Knowledge Sharing Session
The master trainer raised question among participants that how many of you sitting in this hall voted before going for voting in this coming general election? In return, all of the participants raised their hands in the air and replied accordingly. Again the master trainer said that we are Pakistani and we proud to be, that’s why this is our prime responsibility to participate within the election process and make our vote precious. There are so many stories related to the past polling procedures in which more than half of the polled votes were rejected due to several technical errors. Illiteracy and lack of awareness among the remote area people in Balochistan producing constraints in order to approaching basic life facilities including health, education and employment. This is the best chance for all of us within the coming general elections to vote and get their rights on their door spot.
Recalling the previous election 2013 results, the master trainer said that out of 100 percent only 39 percent voters were participated in the election process in which 23 percent votes were rejected due to lack of awareness. We have to take necessary steps and following procedures adopted by the election commission of Pakistan vote correctly without any errors; that’s why we have to understand voting process so that very youngster cast its vote correctly.
  • Theoretical Voting Practice
The master trainer communicated all of the participants the following guidelines for voters. In first he updated about voter eligibility and who can vote.
  • The person is a citizen of the Islamic republic of Pakistan
  • The person is not less than eighteen years of age
  • The person having Computerized National Identity Card CNIC
  • Resident of the electoral area
In case of the expiry of Computerized National Identity Card he/she eligible to cast vote, otherwise any other document like passport, licenses or service card is not acceptable for the vote.
The next step for the voters is awareness about their concerned polling station and the master trainer explained wisely that the election commission of Pakistan has set easy access of the voters for getting knowledge about their constituency and polling station with collaboration of the National Database & Registration Authority NADRA in which type your CNIC without Hyphens and spaces and send it to 8300, you will get updated voter record.
Knowing about the right place like constituency and polling station, voters must be aware about the following steps on polling day.
 
-          BE PUNCTUAL AT THE POLLING DAY AND PERFORM YOUR NATIONAL DUTY
As per ECP rules polling time will be from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Make sure you are at polling station in between this time and comfortably cast your vote. Even after the end of polling time, voters within the jurisdiction of polling station can cast their vote but the gates of the polling station will be closed and those standing out the station might not be allowed to come in. Therefore, it is better to be on time and perform your national duty. Indeed, voting for the right person will benefit the entire nation.
 
-          DON’T BRING PHONE AND CAMERA OR OTHER CONTROVERSIAL ACCESSORIES, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW
Carrying mobile phone, camera and controversial accessories that make you suspicious are not allowed in polling station. It is better not to take them with you. In case you have taken it, have it out of the polling station.
 
-          ENTERING IN THE POLLING STATION AND CASTING FIRST VOTE IN BALLOT BOXES
The election commission of Pakistan set polling stations within each constituency as per their needs; however, preference be given to special people including patients, pregnant women, disabled, old aged and transgender will be given preference in polling process. It is because they are special in one or the other and should be respected of giving preference at the time of casting vote.
Presiding officer will be in charge of the polling process in the polling station. Pertinently the electoral staff, security personal and observers will remain neutral and act over the legal orders of given by the presiding officer.
 
Step-1
When you enter into the polling station the polling officer is the first person who will check your original identity card and details on electoral list. Your name and reference number will be called loudly. The officer after inspecting your identification number will cross your name from the list. After that thumb impression will be taken and mark of indelible ink will be put on your thumb.
 
Step-2
After having ink mark on the thumb you will walk to the next officer who is the senior assisting presiding officer. The senior assistant presiding officer will get your information on the counter foil of the ballet paper and assistant presiding officer will do the same. Both will issue the ballot papers, green for national assembly and white for provincial assembly. You need to make sure that the officer has put his signature and stamp on the back of the papers. Not doing so might result in the rejection of your vote.
 
Step-3
After that you will go behind the voting screen and will stamp on the symbol of the candidate of your choice. Make sure that you stamp on the right place and the ink mark is evident on the electoral symbol of the candidate you are voting for. You ensure that the ink is not spread any other part of the ballot paper various stamps of symbols of the multiple candidate will direct reject your vote. After stamp on the symbol of the chosen candidate, the ballot paper folded carefully.
 
Step-4
Green ballot box should be dispatched in box with the green lid while, the white with white lid. Make sure that you cast your vote with secrecy. It is indeed your ethical and moral responsibility to maintain secrecy of your vote.
After brief sharing about the voting procedures, the master trainer requested to the audience about practical demonstration of the polling.  The first vote campaign team immediately set polling station within the training premises and participant were given certain role of the polling staff in order to conducting polling within the set polling stations. All of the participants witnessed the transparent and visible poling procedures and participants casted their vote.
 
Project Duration: July 10 to 20, 2018
 
Participants: 300 youth
 

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Women Development & Community Organiztion(WDCO)

House # 39-A Chaman Housing Scheme Air Port Road Quetta Pakistan
Phone: +92 81-2864072
E-mail: info@wdco.org.pk
URL: www.wdco.org.pk