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International Foundation for Electoral Systems FAQs on Jordanian Elections

[Jordanian flags. Image by Vyacheslav Argenberg via Wikimedia Commons] [Jordanian flags. Image by Vyacheslav Argenberg via Wikimedia Commons]

[The following report was issued by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems on 16 January 2013. While polls have closed at the end 23 January for the 2013 Jordanian parliamentary elections, the document offers details on the policies and procedures guiding the electoral system. It should be noted, though, that the report problematically takes at face value the efficacy of these polices and procedures in bringing about meaningful change, something activists and astute analysts have warned against doing given the managed nature of (authoritarian) contestation these elections represent.]

Elections in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: January 23 Chamber of Deputies Election -- Frequently Asked Questions 

Who will Jordanians elect on January 23, 2013?

On January 23, 2013, Jordanians will elect 150 representatives to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament. This is thirty more representatives than were in the previous Chamber of Deputies elected in 2010. His Majesty King Abdullah II appoints the members of the Senate, the upper house of Parliament. The number of senators may not exceed half of the number of members of the Chamber of Deputies; therefore, the king may appoint up to seventy-five senators (given the increase in the number of Chamber of Deputies members to 150).

The term of the Chamber of Deputies is four years from the date on which the results of the general election are announced in the Official Gazette. Senators also serve for four years. The king may, by royal decree, prolong the term of either house for a period of between one and two years. The king also has the right to dissolve Parliament. The king most recently exercised that right on October 4, 2012. According to Article 73 of the constitution, a general election should be held so that the new Chamber of Deputies can convene no later than four months after the date of the dissolution. In this case, the deadline is 4 February 2013. If the election does not take place by that date, the dissolved Chamber of Deputies shall be reinstated and will remain in office until a new Chamber is elected. The sessions of the Senate have also been suspended until the next session of the newly elected Parliament starts.

Under Article 34 of the constitution, the king issues orders for holding elections to the Chamber of Deputies, which he did when dissolving Parliament. The exact date of the election (23 January 2013) was determined by the newly created Independent Election Commission.

Who will govern Jordan after the elections?

Executive power in Jordan is vested in the king, who can appoint and dismiss the prime minister and ministers. Members of the Council of Ministers can – but are not required – to be members of Parliament.

The Chamber of Deputies does not elect the new government but does issue a vote of confidence, by absolute majority, in every new government after receiving the government’s ministerial statement. After the elections, the government must submit to the newly elected Parliament for approval a ministerial statement that outlines its policy objectives and programs. The Chamber of Deputies may also issue a motion of no confidence in the government or in one of the ministers. If the motion of no confidence succeeds, by an absolute majority vote, the government must resign.

What are Jordan’s international and regional obligations related to democratic elections?

Jordan has signed and ratified the following treaties that contain election-related obligations:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Additionally, as a member of the League of Arab States, Jordan has made a commitment to protect fundamental freedoms and political rights as described in the Arab Charter on Human Rights (ACHR).

What is the legal framework for elections in Jordan?

The legal framework for the Chamber of Deputies is contained in the Jordanian constitution, along with the following legislation, regulations and executive instructions:

  • The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Law No. 11 of 2012
  • The Parliamentary Election Law No. 25 of 2012 and amendment No. 26 to that law, issued in 2012

Other legislation related to the elections includes:

  • The Political Parties Law No. 16 of 2012
  • The Jordanian Nationality Law No. 6 of 1954, and amendments No. 21 of 1956, No. 50 of 1958, No. 7 of 1963 and No. 22 of 1987

Regulations issued by the government related to the Independent Election Commission include:

  • The IEC Financial System Regulations No. 39 of 2012
  • The IEC Supplies Regulation No. 41 of 2012
  • The IEC Employees and Workers Regulation No. 40 of 2012

In addition, the Independent Election Commission issued executive instructions. To date, these include:

  • Executive Instructions No. 1 of the year 2012 related to the election card and the preparation of the initial lists of voters
  • Executive Instructions No. 2 of the year 2012 related to the accreditation of local observers
  • Executive Instructions No. 3 of the year 2012 related to accreditation of international observers
  • Executive Instructions No. 4 of the year 2012 related to amending Executive Instructions No. 1
  • Executive Instructions No. 5 of the year 2012 related to objections to preliminary candidate lists
  • Executive Instructions No. 6 of the year 2012 related to formulation of committees
  • Executive Instructions No. 7 of the year 2012 related to disclosure and code of conduct for the IEC
  • Executive Instructions No. 8 of the year 2012 related to candidate nomination for the general electoral district
  • Executive Instructions No. 9 of the year 2012 related to candidate nomination for the general electoral district
  • Executive Instructions No. 10 of the year 2012 related to polling and counting
  • Executive Instructions No. 11 of the year 2012 related to election campaigns
  • Executive Instructions No. 12 of the year 2012 related to accreditation of agents of candidates
  • Executive Instructions No. 13 of the year 2012 related to accreditation of local and international journalists and media representatives

What is the structure of the electoral system?

According to the 2012 Parliamentary Election Law, Jordan has adopted a parallel electoral system. The 150-member Chamber of Deputies will be elected as follows:

  • A total of 108 deputies will be directly elected in forty-five “local” electoral districts. The boundaries of the forty-five electoral districts and the allocation of the number of seats per district are determined in the Parliamentary Election Law. Each of the 108 seats is assigned to a specific community, as follows:
    • Nine seats are allocated to Christians in the following electoral districts: Amman Third District, Irbid Second District, Balqa First District (two seats), Karak First District, Karak Second District, Zarqa First District, Madaba First District, Ajloun First District.
    • Three seats are allocated to Chechens/Circassians in the following electoral districts: Amman Fifth District, Amman Sixth District, Zarqa First District.
    • Nine seats are allocated to Bedouins in three electoral districts in the North, Central and South Regions. These districts are family based, which means the electoral law lists the families that are assigned to each of these three electoral districts. To be eligible to vote or be a candidate in these districts, the voter or candidate’s family must be listed as  belonging to the district in the law. Jordanians assigned to these districts are not allowed to vote or be candidates in any of the other districts.
    • The remaining eighty-seven seats are allocated to Muslims in forty-two electoral districts.

Each voter can vote for only one candidate, irrespective of how many seats there are in an electoral district. Voters can also vote for any candidate, regardless of whether the candidate is Muslim, Christian or Chechen/Circassian. The candidates with the most votes win the seats while keeping in line with the aforementioned seat allocations. For example, Amman’s Third District has five seats, four of which are allocated to Muslims and one to Christians. The four Muslim candidates with the most votes win the four Muslim seats, and the Christian candidate with the most votes wins the Christian seat.

  • Fifteen seats are allocated to women candidates who competed for election to the 108 seats mentioned above, but who did not win one of those seats directly. Of these 15, one seat is allocated to each of the twelve governorates, and one to each of the three Bedouin districts. In each governorate, the woman candidate with the highest percentage of votes who did not win a seat directly will win the allocated seat. For example, the Capital (Amman) Governorate has seven electoral districts. To determine who wins this seat, the percentage of votes each woman candidate (who did not win seats directly) received will be calculated by dividing the votes she received by the total number of voters in the district where she competed. The woman with the highest percentage of votes in her respective district will win the allocated seat for this governorate.
  • Twenty-seven seats are elected in a separate “general” (or national) electoral district. Electoral lists compete for these national seats in a closed-list proportional representation system, as follows:
    • Each list must include at least nine candidates.
    • Seats are allocated to lists according to the percentage of votes they won, using a “largest remainder” seat-allocation system. For each list, the number of votes for the list will be divided by the total number of votes cast and then multiplied by twenty-seven to determine how many seats each list receives. Each list receives a number of seats equal to the whole number after this calculation. Any remaining seats will be allocated to the lists with the largest remainders.

How many ballot papers will each voter receive?

Each voter will receive two ballot papers, one for the national district and one for the local district where the voter is registered.

What will the ballot papers look like?

In 2013, the IEC decided to pre-print ballot papers for the forty-five local electoral districts and the national electoral district. In previous elections, each voter was provided with a blank ballot paper with a space where the voter could write down the name of the candidate of his or her choice.

In these elections, each voter will receive two ballot papers: one for the national district and one for the relevant local district.

The ballot paper for the national district will include the name of each list, a number for each list, the logo of each list and a box next to each list where the voter should make a mark to indicate which list he or she chooses.

The ballot paper for the local district will include each candidate’s name, number, photo and a box where the voter can either write the name of the candidate or make a mark to indicate preference.

The order of candidates or lists on the ballot paper is officially determined by the order in which the candidates and lists registered. The IEC conducted a lottery each morning of registration to determine the order in which candidates registered.

All the ballot papers will be printed and bound in pads. Each ballot paper will be attached to a stub with a unique serial number, which will enable the IEC to track all ballot papers from the printers; through the distribution process to electoral districts, polling centers and polling stations; and back to the IEC district electoral offices after polling.

Who is eligible to register to vote? Who is ineligible to vote?

All Jordanian citizens who were eighteen years or older on 1 December 2012, have the right to register to vote, except for certain categories of persons defined in the law. These special categories include active service members of the Armed Forces, General Intelligence, Public Security and Civil Defense. As stipulated in the Election Law, persons who were declared bankrupt or insane by courts of law are also not entitled to vote. Jordanians who reside outside of Jordan cannot register to vote, unless they also have residency in Jordan. There is no out-of-country voting for Jordanians residing abroad. 

Who is eligible to be a candidate?

Candidates for the Chamber of Deputies must have been Jordanian citizens for a minimum of ten years, must be thirty years old on Election Day and cannot hold the nationality of another country.

Candidates also should not have been declared bankrupt without having been rehabilitated; placed under custody that has not been lifted; sentenced for more than one year for a nonpolitical crime and not pardoned; or declared “insane or demented.” Relatives of the king are also not allowed to run as candidates. In addition, government ministers who wish to run must have resigned from their position at least sixty days prior to Election Day. Public servants, as well as chairmen and members of municipal councils, must resign their positions at least sixty days prior to the date for submitting the application for candidacy.

How is election administration structured under the new Independent Election Commission?

Previous elections in Jordan were conducted under the supervision of committees headed by the Minister of Interior at the national level, and officials from the Ministry of Interior at the governorate and electoral-district levels. This changed with the establishment of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) under the Independent Election Commission Law No. 11 of 2012, which was endorsed by the Senate on March 29, 2012, and promulgated in accordance with Article 67 of the constitution. This new commission is responsible for the supervision and administration of all stages of parliamentary elections.

His Majesty King Abdullah II appointed the chairman and members of the Board of Commissioners in May 2012. He made these appointments after receiving nonbinding recommendations from a committee, headed by the prime minister, which also included the speakers of both houses of Parliament and the chief justice. The chairman and members of the Board of Commissioners are appointed for a nonrenewable six-year term.

IEC Chairman Abdelelah Al Khateeb is a former Jordanian minister of foreign affairs and diplomat for the United Nations. Three of the board members are former government ministers, and one is a former judge. The commission is fully responsible for all phases of the electoral process, even where assisted by other government institutions (e.g., voter registration, where the Civil Status and Passports Department, a department within the Ministry of Interior, has a central role).

The Board of Commissioners has appointed a secretary general and administrative staff at a national level. The majority of these staff members, which currently number around 100, were seconded from twenty-five government ministries and institutions (including the Ministry of Interior), although a small number were appointed from civil society and the private sector. The IEC will conduct a review of its structures and staffing levels after the election to determine how many staff members and which positions will be required on a permanent basis at the national level. Staff members who were seconded from other ministries and who will not continue with the IEC will return to serve in these other ministries.

There are no electoral committees at the governorate level.

In the forty-five electoral districts, the Board appointed three-member district election committees (consisting of a head and two members), seconded from staff of government ministries. Only seven of these members are from the Ministry of Interior. Support staff to these committees were also seconded from other government ministries. The members of the district election committees and support staff will be returning to their ministries after completing all of their post-election duties. This could be as soon as the end of January 2013.

How was voter registration conducted?

The 2012 Election Law mandated a completely new voter registration process and introduced voter cards. All voters had to register, even if they were registered to vote in previous elections. Voter registration was conducted by the Civil Status and Passports Department according to executive instructions issued by the IEC Board of Commissioners and under the supervision of the Board.

To register to vote, every eligible voter (or a family member on behalf of the eligible voter) was required to visit any of the seventy-seven offices of the Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) to apply for a voter card. Once a voter card was issued, the voter was placed on the preliminary voter list for the electoral district. To facilitate the registration process, the CSPD opened up additional registration points at other locations, including post offices, and mobile application points where voters could register and receive election cards. The period during which voters could collect their election cards and be placed on the preliminary voter register started on 7 August 2012. The initial one-month period was extended until 30 September 2012, and on that date, the period was again extended until 15 October 2012.

Voters were assigned to electoral districts based upon the residency data in the civil registry. Certain categories of voters could register to vote in districts where they were not residents. This included voters who could register to vote as a “son of a district” if the voter, the voter’s father or the voter’s grandfather had been born in the district where the voter wanted to apply to vote. A married woman could register to vote in the district where her husband (and in some cases her father-in-law) was a “son of the district.” Also, since not all districts included seats for Christians or Circassians and Chechens, a voter could register to vote in a district where there was a relevant seat for the voter’s group if there was not one in the district where he or she was a resident. Voters in the Bedouin districts had to be among the families listed in an annex to the law.

After the end of the voter registration period, the IEC displayed the preliminary voter list, which included 2,277,077 voters on 31 October 2012. The list was publicly displayed in IEC headquarters in Amman and IEC district offices throughout Jordan as well as on the IEC website.

Decisions made by the CSPD regarding registration of voters could be challenged directly to the IEC. The decisions of the IEC could, in turn, be appealed at the court of first instance that had jurisdiction over the electoral district where the voter is registered. Voters could challenge both their own registration (e.g., if they were registered in the wrong district, or if they were not included on the preliminary voter register) or the registration of other voters.

Based on the decisions of the courts, the IEC issued a final voter list of 2,272,182 voters.

How were polling centers and polling stations allocated to voters?

All polling centers are located in schools. The Election Law states that each voter is to choose where – that is, at which polling center in the district – he or she will cast a ballot. In previous elections, this allowed each voter to decide which polling center in the electoral district he or she wished to vote at on Election Day itself. The IEC asked the Legal Interpretation Bureau whether the IEC could require voters to exercise their right to choose a polling center prior to Election Day. The Bureau’s interpretation was that such a request would be legal. As a result, when they registered to vote, voters were asked to specify the polling center at which they would like to vote. Prior to voter registration, the IEC published the complete list of polling centers in newspapers and on its website. During voter registration, the election card was then issued with the name of the polling center printed on it.

To assign voters to polling stations (each located in a separate classroom in a school), the IEC divided voters for each polling center alphabetically. No more than 750 voters are assigned to a polling station.

How were candidate and list registration conducted?

Registration for candidates and lists for both the local and national electoral districts took place 22-24 December  2012.

Candidates for the 108 directly elected seats in the forty-five local districts were required to submit their applications to the head of the district election committee in the local district where the candidate wanted to register. The district committees sent these applications to the IEC headquarters at the end of each day of the registration process. A committee formed of IEC staff members then reviewed the applications before submitting them to the Board of Commissioners for a final decision on whether candidates met the criteria for application. By the end of candidate nomination period, 699 applications for the local electoral district seats had been received.

Lists that wanted to compete for the twenty-seven seats in the national electoral district were required to submit their applications directly to IEC headquarters in Amman. Each potential list had to appoint a representative who submitted the application on behalf of the whole list. A committee of IEC staff reviewed these applications before submitting them to the Board of Commissioners, which would review the applications and make decisions on the registration of the lists and their candidates. The IEC received applications for sixty-one lists which included 829 candidates.

Candidates, lists and voters could file appeals at the Court of Appeal regarding IEC decisions on the registration of lists and candidates.

What are the rules on campaigning?

The Election Law and Executive Instructions No. 11, related to campaign monitoring, guarantee the right of candidates and lists to initiate election campaigns and publicity. The law and executive instructions provide three types of restrictions to elections campaigns for candidates and lists:

  • Duration: Election campaigns start with the period of candidate nomination and end on the day before elections. Hence, for this election they start on 23 December 2012, and end on the evening of 22 January 2013.
  • Location: Candidates are prohibited from using ministries, government offices, public buildings and institutions, educational establishments and places of worship for the purpose of campaigning. Candidates can hang their posters in the streets provided that they do not cover traffic signs or electricity and telephone poles, or use publicly owned properties. Finally, it is prohibited to set up a candidate campaign center less than 200 meters away from a polling and counting center. 
  • Content: Candidates are obligated to adhere to the provisions of the constitution and respect the rule of law. Their campaigns must respect others’ freedom of opinion and thought, uphold national unity, protect the security and stability of the country, and practice nondiscrimination among citizens. They should also refrain from disrupting other candidates election campaigns, whether in person or through their campaign supporters.

The IEC has appointed staff to monitor the campaigns. Violations will be reported to the Board of Commissioners, which may decide to hand over evidence of such violations to the prosecutor.

What are the rules on campaign resources and campaign financing?

The Election Law outlines several offenses regarding access to resources and campaign finance:

  • It is prohibited to use any means or assets owned by the government or municipalities in the election campaign of any candidate.
  • Employees of the government and official and public institutions; the mayor of Amman; the members and employees of the municipalities’ councils; and the directors, members, and employees of municipal councils are not allowed to campaign or endorse a campaign for any candidate in their places of work.
  • Candidates are not allowed to receive monetary or in-kind support from other countries, foreign governments, international organizations, or foreign subjects. 
  • Candidates are prohibited from accepting monetary support from known “suspicious” sources.
  • Candidates are prohibited from presenting or promising to present any gifts, donations, cash or in-kind assistance, and the like to any natural or legal person, directly or through others. No person shall be allowed to ask for such gifts, donations, or assistance or to promise that any candidate will give them.
  • It is prohibited to recruit children to assist in conducting campaigns in a manner that would put them at risk. 

Violations of the above may be punishable by any of the following: imprisonment for a period of not less than three months and not more than one year; a fine of not less than JD200 and not more than JD500; or both penalties.

In Executive Instructions No. 11, the IEC determined that the IEC may ask candidates to disclose the sources contributing to their election campaigns and how candidates spend the money they receive from these sources. This information may be published by the IEC, but no penalty is stipulated should the information not be provided.

What rules should media follow during the electoral campaign?

The Election Law and Executive Instructions No. 11 address the role of the media in relation to election campaign periods. The IEC introduced Executive Instructions No. 13 (related to accreditation of media representatives and journalists) to cover the rights and obligations of journalists during other phases of the electoral process, including polling and counting day. The executive instructions also specify obligations for official media only.

Concerning the role of the media during campaigns, the Election Law and executive instructions stress that media outlets shall deal with all candidates fairly and equally. Public media has to abide by the following requirements:

  • Ensure neutrality and impartiality toward any candidate or electoral list
  • Respect the freedom of voters in expressing their opinions and choosing their representatives freely (Media shall not broadcast any material that would influence voters’ choices or the progress of the electoral process.)
  • Equality in dealing with all candidates and electoral lists regarding free campaigning as well as giving all candidates and electoral lists the same prices and rates for paid electoral propaganda
  • Observation of the principles of neutrality and objectivity (Media shall not succumb to pressure from any governmental authority, candidate or list that would affect the progress of the electoral process.)

What are the basic rules for Election Day?

Polling stations will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Voters will cast their ballots in the polling station to which they are assigned. The ballot should be cast in person, and proxy voting is prohibited. To cast ballots, a voter must be on the voter list for that polling station and will be required to present his or her national ID card and election card to the polling officials in that polling station.

Each voter’s identity number will be entered into a computer terminal that is linked to a central network; and the voter will be marked as having voted on both the electronic register and on a printout of the voter register in the polling station. The polling staff will retain the election card, and a corner will be cut off the card to ensure that it cannot be used again. The IEC has also decided to use indelible voter marking ink as an additional safeguard against possible multiple voting.

Each voter will receive two ballot papers: one for the local district and one for the national district. For the national district, voters can mark next to the name and logo of the list they choose. For the local district, the voter must write the name of the candidate he or she chooses next to the printed name and photo of the candidate. An illiterate voter can mark next to the photo of the candidate of his or her choice.

How many poll workers will be in each polling station? What will their main duties be?

Each team is composed of six officials – namely, a polling and counting committee of three members and three additional staff members:

  • A chairperson is responsible for managing and supervising the process of polling and counting inside the polling station, as well as for signing and stamping ballot papers and maintaining order in the polling station.
  • Two members are responsible for checking voters’ IDs and election cards, checking that they are on the printed voter list, recording voters’ names on the voter registers and ensuring that voters do not already have electoral ink on their fingers.
  • A data-entry clerk will ensure that the name of each voter is on the electronic voter register, mark electronically that the voter has voted and, at the end of the day, enter the results of the two ballot boxes in the electronic results data entry system.
  • One assistant will be responsible for organizing the queue of voters into the polling and counting station.
  • A second assistant will monitor the ballot boxes, ensuring that voters place the appropriate ballot papers in the correct ballot boxes and that they dip their fingers in the ink before leaving the polling station.

 When will polling staff be trained? 

The 25,000 polling staff and 7,000 reserve polling staff members are being trained from 22 December 2012, to 19 January 2013. The training is being conducted by 200 IEC trainers. In addition, a refresher will be conducted in the final days leading to Election Day.

When will polling stations be set up? 

IEC District Office staff will be responsible for setting up all polling centers in the week prior to Election Day. Polling and counting committees will receive their materials on the day prior to Election Day.

What are the poll workers’ first duties on Election Day?

Poll workers should arrive at their polling and counting station by 6:00 a.m. on 23 January 2013. They must check sensitive electoral materials stored in the ballot boxes to ensure all materials have arrived prior to polling, and count the ballots to ensure they have sufficient amounts for that polling station’s needs. They also need to ensure that the data-entry system is functioning properly. The chairperson will empty the boxes, show them to all who are present and seal them with uniquely numbered seals. A form is then completed for each ballot box which includes the seal numbers and the number of ballot papers for each ballot box.

What are the steps for voting?

Each polling and counting committee should follow these steps for voting:

  • Verify the identity of the voter by examining his or her identity card and election card to ensure that the two cards belong to the same person (If the voter is a veiled woman, a woman in the polling and counting committee shall verify her identity.)
  • Make sure that the name of the voter is present on the voter list for that polling and counting station
  • Make sure that the index finger of the voter’s left hand is not stained with the indelible ink approved by IEC for elections or covered with an insulating substance that would prevent the adherence of the ink
  • Give the voter two stamped and signed ballot papers
  • Mark the hard copy of the election list and the electronic version to indicate that the voter has exercised his or her voting rightWrite the voter’s name in the “Lists of Actual Voters” for each electoral district

The voter follows these steps for voting:

  • Goes behind the voting screen and writes on the ballot paper of the local electoral district the name of the candidate for whom he or she wishes to vote next to that candidate’s printed name (If the voter is illiterate, he or she shall mark next to the photo of the candidate for whom he or she wishes to vote.)
  • Mark next to the name, the number and code of the list he or she wants to vote for on the ballot paper of the national electoral district
  • Fold the two ballot papers separately in a way that does not show the voter’s choices
  • Cast the ballot for local electoral district and the ballot for the national electoral district in their respective ballot boxes
  • Dip the index finger of his or her left hand in the indelible ink

At this stage, the chairperson of the polling and counting committee shall give the voter back his/her ID card.

  • The chairperson of the polling and counting committee shall retain the election card and make a mark indicating that it has been used by cutting the bottom left corner in a way that does not affect its contents or data.

Can a voter who has not actively registered cast his or her ballot?

No, only voters who are on the voter list and in possession of an election card and ID card on Election Day can vote. Each voter can only vote at the polling station to which he or she has been assigned.

What provisions have been made to accommodate voters with disabilities?

The IEC has identified 226 polling centers that are being made accessible to voters with disabilities. Information on these locations was available during voter registration, and the IEC collaborated with representatives of organizations working on the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that each voter with a disability would choose one of these centers as his or her polling center. The IEC also published advertisements and collaborated with these organizations to make sure that voters requiring wheelchair access notified the IEC of this need, so that these voters could be assigned to polling stations on the ground floor.

In addition, a voter with a disability can request the assistance of someone he or she freely chooses to help the voter mark a ballot paper, if necessary. Each assistant can only assist one voter, and the little finger of the right hand of such an assistant will be inked to ensure that this person provides assistance only once. If a voter does not have an assistant, he or she can request that the chairperson of the polling and counting committee provide assistance.

What provisions have been made to accommodate illiterate voters?

The IEC decided to print the ballot papers for local districts with a photo of each candidate, and the ballot paper for the national district with the logo of each list. Illiterate voters may mark the ballot paper next to the photo of the candidate or the logo of the list. In previous elections, an illiterate voter had to whisper his or her preference to the polling and counting committee, and the chairperson would complete the ballot on the voter’s behalf.

When will counting take place?

Counting of votes will take place in polling stations immediately after polling stations close. Voters still waiting in the queue at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Who will count the votes?

The six polling officials assigned to the polling station are responsible for counting votes. All national and international observers, media representatives, candidates and list representatives will be allowed to observe counting.

What are the basic rules for counting?

The votes in the ballot box for the national district will be counted first, followed by the ballot box for the local district.

The officials will first count the ballot papers in the box and then compare the number of ballot papers with the number of voters who voted in the polling station. If there is a discrepancy, the head of the district election committee and IEC headquarters will be notified. If the discrepancy is more than two percent, the IEC will investigate the problem.

The chairperson of the polling and counting committee will read the vote on each ballot paper out loud and show the ballot paper to candidate and list representatives and observers. The vote will be recorded on a whiteboard that is visible to all present, and the ballots for each candidate or list will be placed in separate piles. After sorting all the votes, the ballot papers for each candidate and each list will be counted again, and the total will be compared with the total on the whiteboard.

Will election results be publicly displayed? Where will results be tabulated?

Five copies of the results form for each electoral district will be completed. One copy will be posted on the door outside the polling station; and observers, candidate representatives and the media will be allowed to photograph this form.

One copy of each result form will be put in a separate envelope to be given directly to the head of thevdistrict election committee at the results center in each electoral district. The other three copies will be placed in a tamper-evident bag, which will also be transported to the results center in the electoral district, where it will be retained.

The election results will be entered into the database on the computer terminal (inside the pollingvstation), which is linked to a nationwide network. The data will immediately be transmitted to the district election committee and to the IEC headquarters in Amman.

How will results be tabulated?

Preliminary results for the local electoral districts are tabulated by each district election committee after receiving the results forms from the polling and counting committees. At the results centers in the electoral districts, the results for both the local and national districts will be entered a second time (after the first entry by the polling and counting committees) into the results database. The results will also be added up by a group of tabulation staff who will calculate the results using calculators. In addition, the results will be written by hand on a whiteboard visible to all present. The totals of all four of these calculations must match.

Who announces the election results?

Preliminary results for the local electoral districts are announced by the head of each district election committee after the completion of results tabulation at the results center in each election district.

The Board of Commissioners will also appoint a Special Committee that has three tasks related to the finalization of results:

  • Performing final tabulation of the results for the twenty-seven national proportional representation seats and the calculations for allocation of these seats
  • Finalizing the calculations to determine which women candidates who did not win seats outright will receive the fifteen women’s quota seats
  • Conducting an audit of the tabulation of all results and providing a report on this audit to the Board of Commissioners

The Board of Commissioners is responsible for certifying the final results, which will be published in the Official Gazette.

Who will monitor the elections?

Electoral district candidates are allowed to be present at the polling station when it opens as well as during polling and counting. Electoral lists and candidates can also appoint a delegate to monitor the electoral process on their behalf. Domestic civil society organizations and international observers can be accredited to monitor the elections. Three domestic observer coalitions have been accredited to observe the elections, and they plan to collectively field more than 6,000 short-term observers.

The following international organizations are observing the elections: the European Union, the Arab League, the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute.

What is the role of the Jordanian judiciary in the electoral process? How will disputes be adjudicated?

Depending on the type of complaint and/or violation, different authorities are responsible for adjudicating disputes.

Decisions by the IEC on voter registration can be appealed to a court of first instance, whose decisions are final.

Decisions by the IEC on candidate and list registration could be appealed to a court of appeal, whose decisions are final.

Preliminary elections results will be announced by the IEC. Any voter can submit an objection to the results to the relevant court of appeal within fifteen days after the publication of the results in the Official Gazette. Judgements on these cases should be issued within thirty days of the registration of the petition.

Electoral crimes are dealt with by the public prosecutor according to the penal code. Article 68 of the Election Law designates the IEC staff members as legal enforcers in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedures Law. In this capacity, they can cite any electoral crime committed in violation of the electoral law and must hand this information over to the public prosecutor.

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