Everything You Need to Know about Voting for the First Time on Feb 8 in Pakistan

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A complete guide to voting for first-time voters with all the necessary information you need.

To start with, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), you are eligible to vote if you are a citizen of Pakistan, 18 years of age, possess a computerized national identity card (CNIC) issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), and are not declared of unsound mind by a competent court. Also, there are specific deadlines for voter registrations, so make sure to check those.

To find your polling station, text your CNIC number (without spaces or dashes) to 8300 — the official code for the ECP. Additionally, the polling stations will be open from 8am to 5pm, and you must have your original CNIC with you. Cell phones are not allowed in the polling stations.

Once you enter the polling station, men and women will enter separately and the polling officer will ask to see your original CNIC to confirm your identity and mark your thumb with non-erasable ink.

The assistant presiding officer will hand you two ballot papers, one for the national assembly and one for the provincial assembly. Make sure to stamp your thumb impression on the counterfoils and ensure the assistant presiding officer has signed on the back of each ballot paper as well as on the counterfoils.

Inside the polling booth, vote for your chosen candidates by stamping your thumb on the ballot paper in the box of the candidate you want to vote for. Make sure not to attach any objects or reveal your personal identity on the ballot paper.

Let the ink dry, fold the ballot paper according to instructions, and place it in the designated boxes.

Lastly, familiarize yourself with election terms such as ECP, constituency, delimitation, returning officers, presiding officers, gerrymandering, district, disenfranchise, first past the post system, manifesto, referendum, and symbol. These terms will help you better understand the election process and its related vocabulary.

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