IHEC Trains its Trainers on Polling and Counting Procedures

By: Sabah Abdulrahman
Ihsan Barzinji contributed to this story.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) started on Sunday 18 January 2010 a series of activities in Erbil to train its staff on polling and counting procedures in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for March 7th. A total of 360 IHEC staff members throughout the country are enrolled in these training sessions. Upon completion of the training sessions, they will act as trainers and cascade the training to their colleagues in their respective governorates.


The objective of the 4-day training is to ensure that the voting process goes smoothly and in accordance with the procedures. On the first day of the training, the participants were lectured on the procedures, sensitive and non-sensitive materials, step-by-step voting, ending the voting process and preparation for the counting stage. Various forms used throughout the voting process were also explained.


Monday’s session was a practical session on voting process that covered the stages before, during and after the voting, as well as the opening of the ballot boxes for the purpose of counting. 

The trainees were taught how to check the names of voters and their ID cards and their fingers for presence of ink to prevent multiple voting, how to assist people with special needs or the elderly to cast their votes, and prevent any direct contact or communication between voters and political entities’ agents and observers. The trainees, who acted as polling center managers, recorded closing time after the end of the voting, sealed ballot boxes, counted the number of signatures and voters and checked the number of spoiled and unused ballots. The final stage was the opening of the boxes. The trainees were taught how to open the boxes in the presence of representatives of political entities, check unstamped, invalid or blank ballots and begin to count them.


Ashwaq Yaqo Sham’oon, an IHEC staff from Dahuk liked the training. “Practical sessions are very useful for us in the sense that they help electoral cadres be familiar with measures and procedures, thus, not committing any procedural mistake,” she said. Another IHEC staffer, Sarbast Mustafa, also valued the training. “Despite our previous electoral experience, the training was very useful. Also there are mechanisms for designing forms to prevent fraud and double voting,” he said.


Tuesday’s training session was role playing for the participants while on Wednesday the training covered differences between regular voting and voting for Internally Displaced Persons, special voting for army, police, detainees and hospital patients, as well as supervision and reporting during the cascade training.

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 03:00

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