The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is working toward implementing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and I-Voting technologies, but it does not expect to be able to do so in time for the general election, which is expected to take place in October this year.
Despite amendments to the Elections Act of 2017, which were passed in a joint session of parliament in November last year, allowing the use of electronic voting machines and granting voting rights to Pakistanis living abroad, there are serious issues that must be addressed before the technology can be implemented.
Several background conversations with ECP officials and associated experts revealed that the electoral body is willing to reduce the manual component of the voting process, but there are several obstacles to overcome before taking the leap. One of them is the lengthy and time-consuming technology selection process.
EVMs and I-voting necessitate numerous pilot projects, trials, and tests that, even if accelerated, can last at least four to five months. They further stated that the lengthy and complex process of procuring the machines through internal/international tenders will take at least another five to six months. However, these technical devices are not available in mass, i.e. 700,000-800,000 (EVMs alone), nor can they be purchased immediately from global marketplaces.