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Time to explore possibility of remote voting, says Election Commission

The Hawk
June8/ 2022

Chamoli: Days after Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar undertook an hours-long trek to a remote polling station in Uttarakhand, the poll panel on Tuesday decided to double the remuneration of polling officials going to such booths as early as three days before voting day. In a statement, the EC said to enhance voting percentage, especially among migrants, "time has come to explore possibilities of remote voting, maybe on a pilot basis". "Voters migrate from the place of their registration to cities and other places for education, employment and other purposes. It becomes difficult for them to return to their registered polling stations to cast their vote. The commission felt that time has come to explore possibilities of remote voting, maybe on a pilot basis," it said.  A committee would be set up to examine the issues of migrant voters. Given the fact that voters and political parties are the primary stakeholders, wider consultation with all stakeholders including parties would be started thereafter, it explained.

At a meeting of the poll panel, it was also decided to develop special water and shock proof, extra protective backpacks or cases to carry EVM-VVPATs and safeguard the machines provided to all such teams to aid hands-free movement in difficult terrain.

Seeking to address voting apathy in urban areas, now all central and state government departments, central and state PSUs and corporate entities with 500 plus employees will appoint a nodal officer to ascertain leave availing but non-voting employees.

"It is kind of name and shame as people in poll going areas get a day's off under the Negotiable Instruments Act with the primary purpose of facilitating voting by employees," explained a senior functionary.

"Empathising with the dedication of polling personnel who perform election duty in remote and difficult areas, the commission decided to double the remuneration of the polling officials going to the polling Stations three days in advance. Till now, the remuneration for polling officials used to be a uniform per diem amount for all alike. Chief Electoral Officers of the states and UTs shall specifically notify such polling stations for enhanced remuneration during election," an EC statement said.      

This is the third major decision taken by the EC in the last three weeks after Kumar took over as the CEC. The commission noted that the EVM-VVPAT machines have been technologically designed to get triggered in ’unauthorised access mode' whenever there is any unauthorised attempt to open it and become unusable because of the one-time programmable chip.

The commission decided to develop special water and shock proof, extra protective backpacks or cases to carry EVM-VVPATs and safeguard the machines provided to all such teams to aid hands free movement in difficult terrain.—PTI