Biometric Electronic Voting machines will not be used in the general elections of 2018, said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad said this in a press briefing while sharing the details of the NA 120 by-elections in Lahore on Friday.
The Commission tested the electronic voting machines back in 2006 however, the system had a lot of glitches. After the 2013 general elections, the rigging issue was raised. ECP used around 100 Biometric machines in 39 polling stations in the recent by-elections to further test their efficacy.
Unable to Identify 12% of Voters
The secretary mentioned that the machines were unable to identify the fingerprints of 12% of the voters. He said,
These results are not encouraging at all. If this sample ratio is taken, of the 90.7 million voters registered in the country, BVMs would not be able to identify 11.6 million of them.
Talking about the rural areas he said that the number of unverified votes would be much higher and it would be very challenging to implement it there. Additional Secretary Akhtar Nazir and DG IT Khizar Aziz were also present at the briefing.
PTI Did Not Win At Biometric Polling Stations
There were rumors that PTI won the most votes in polling stations where Biometric machines were used. The secretary quelled those rumors, saying that the opposite was true. He stated that PMLN won in 28 polling stations with biometric voting machines while PTI only managed to win from 11 stations.
PTI accused ECP and NADRA of removing 29,000 votes from the NA-120 constituency before the elections. NADRA gave a clarification on that by saying that most of the fingerprints were taken on paper and thus they couldn’t be verified by the machines.
Need for Reforms
Transparency of elections in Pakistan has always been a big issue. However, the use of biometric machines might not be the only solution for a free and fair election. Election reforms are very important but neither the opposition nor the government is giving it a serious thought.