EghtesadOnline: The interior minister elaborated on the process of conducting the 11th round of parliamentary elections slated for Friday.
Speaking on national television on Saturday night, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli outlined the specifics of the Feb. 21 election, announcing that there are 54,611 voting centers in 208 constituencies across the country, ISNA reported.
"Around one million people are involved in the electoral process and the training of the polling staff started seven months ago," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
The Interior Ministry has coordinated with the Guardians Council, the electoral watchdog, and they have set April 17 as the date for a possible runoff election, but Rahmani encouraged a high turnout that would lead to a conclusive result on Friday, substantially decreasing the costs of holding a second round of parliamentary vote.
The minister said they have made provisions in case of a high turnout by planning extra polling stations in populous areas to allow all voters to cast their ballot before midnight.
According to the law, voting time cannot be extended past 12 a.m. local time. Previous elections have seen several time extensions due to high participation.
The minister noted that the number of ballot boxes in each voting center is in proportion to the area’s population.
Rahmani also discussed the long overdue electronic voting, saying 24 out of the 25 stages of the electoral process are now fully electronic, and only the actual voting and the counting are done manually.
The minister added, "We have reached an agreement with the Guardians Council and ordered machines that are partly domestically made, partly imported and they verify the identity of the voter in less than a minute."
Rahmani said the most important part of e-voting is the authentication process since in previous elections some would use the identity documents of the deceased to vote several times.
The minister said the machines, which have cost eight trillion rials ($59 million), can help prevent up to 90% of voter fraud.
Rahmani said they have added another layer of security in vote counting, with each ballot box counted by two pairs of two individuals to ensure the accuracy of voting results.
As always, inspectors from the Interior Ministry and the Guardians Council, as well as representatives from various parties will be present in voting centers to "protect the people's vote".
The midterm elections for the Assembly of Experts will be held concurrently in five provinces, including Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Qom, Fars and North Khorasan.
Roughly 58 million Iranians are eligible to choose from among 7,000 candidates competing for the 290 parliamentary seats.