HomeIndiaEC develops remote voting...

EC develops remote voting machine prototype for domestic migrant voters; invites parties for demo


NEW DELHI: In a major move to increase voter participation, the Election Commission on Thursday said it has developed a prototype of a remote electronic voting machine (RVM) for domestic migrant voters and has invited political parties for a demonstration on January 16.

If implemented after stakeholder consultations, migrant voters do not need to travel to their home districts to exercise their franchise.

The Congress opposed the idea saying the EC should first allay the Opposition’s apprehension about misuse of EVMs before extending their application which “would seriously undermine trust” in the electoral system.

Former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, however, described the EC’s move as an “excellent initiative”.

Citing EC’s press note, he said the poll panel will do a pilot.

“It is also an excellent idea,” he said adding “pilot will show all the problems which the system will come across. All good reforms in EC have come through pilot testing only. I think on the whole, it is a very good step and hopefully there will be a consensus.” Terming counting of votes cast at remote booths and their transmission to the returning officer in other states as a “technological challenge”, Election Commission (EC) officials said RVMs will be developed as “a robust, failproof and efficient stand-alone system” based on existing electronic voting machines and will not be connected to the internet.

Based on feedback from various stakeholders and the demonstration of the prototype, the EC will appropriately carry forward the process of implementing remote voting, according to a statement.

The poll panel has also floated a concept note on remote voting and sought the views of political parties on the legal, administrative and technological challenges in implementing it.

The multi-constituency remote EVM, developed by public sector undertaking Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, can handle up to 72 constituencies from a single remote polling booth, the statement issued by the poll watchdog said.

ECIL and Bharat Electronics Ltd are the two PSUs manufacturing the EVMs.

“After focus on youth and urban apathy, remote voting will be a transformational initiative for strengthening participation in electoral democracy,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said.

With the objective of finding a technological solution that is credible, accessible and acceptable to all stakeholders, the commission headed by CEC Kumar along with election commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel “has now explored the option of using a modified version of the time-tested model of M3 (Mark 3) EVMs to enable voting at remote polling stations — polling stations outside home constituency, for domestic migrants”, the statement said.

The initiative, if implemented, can lead to a “social transformation” for migrants, it said.

“Many a times migrants are reluctant to get themselves enrolled at their place of work for various reasons such as frequently changing residences, not enough social and emotional connect with the issues of area of migration, unwillingness to get their name deleted in an electoral roll of their home or native constituencies as they have permanent residence or property,” the poll panel said.

Elaborating on the concept note, the EC said it has invited all eight recognised national and 57 state political parties on January 16 to demonstrate the functioning of the multi-constituency prototype RVM. Members of the commission’s Technical Expert Committee will also be present.

The commission has also solicited written views of recognised political parties by January 31 on various related issues, including changes required in legislation, changes in administrative procedures and voting method for domestic migrants.

The concept note also highlights the challenges of defining domestic migrants, enumerating remote voters and implementation of the Model Code of Conduct at remote polling booths in other states.

Ensuring secrecy of voting, facility of polling agents for identification of voters and process and method of remote voting and counting of votes, are among the other issues identified by the note.

The Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951, The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, and The Registration of Electors Rules, 1960, will need to be amended to introduce remote voting, the statement said.

While the laws can only be changed by Parliament, the related rules in this case can be tweaked at the level of the law ministry. The number of booths to be set up and their locations also needs to be settled.

The method of remote voting, familiarity of voters with the methods and the RVM technology, counting of votes cast at remote booths and their transmission to the returning officer located in other state or states also requires deliberations.

“Migration-based disenfranchisement”, the EC said, is not an option in the age of technological advancement.

The voter turnout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was 67.4 per cent and the EC was concerned over the issue of over 30 crore electors not exercising their franchise and also differential voter turnout in various states and union territories, it said.

“It is understood that there are multifarious reasons for a voter not opting to register in a new place of residence, thus missing out on exercising the right to vote. Inability to vote due to internal migration (domestic migrants) is one of the prominent reasons to be addressed to improve voter turnout and ensure participative elections,” the EC said.

Though there is no central database available for migration within the country, the analysis of available data in the public domain points to work, marriage and education-related migration as important components of domestic migration.

“Out-migration” is predominant among the rural population in overall domestic migration and around 85 per cent of the internal migration is within states, the commission noted.

“However, domestic migrant/ internal migrant does not form a uniquely identifiable and countable class in the existing norms and standard definition. There is no central database available for migration within the country for the purpose as required for the matter under discussion,” it said in the letter to parties.

The Registrar General of India, the Ministry of Labour and Employment and National Sample Survey Organisation lay different meanings to the term “migrant”. In the existing multiple meanings of “migrant”, periodicity and purpose of “absence” from the place of origin lacks clarity, it said.

According to Census 2011, 45.36 crore Indians (37 per cent) in India are migrants — now settled in a place different from their previous residence, however, 75 per cent  of such migrations are on account of marriages and family related reasons.

The EC has deliberated at length to find inclusive solutions to facilitate electoral participation of migrants across all socio-economic strata and explored alternative voting methods like two-way physical transit postal ballots, proxy voting, early voting at special ‘Early Voting Centres’, one-way or two-way electronic transmission of postal ballots (ETPBS) and Internet-based voting system, the Commission observed. (PTI)

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

CDC Investigates Stroke Risk Of Pfizer Bivalent Booster

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still...

This Cancer Drug Can Increase Longevity, Study Finds

A new study has found that a particular cancer drug has...

American Heart Association Reports Largest Increase In Cardiovascular-Related Deaths

A recent report by the American Heart Association has found that...

Ants Can Detect Cancer Tumors In Urine, Scientists Find

Move over dogs, ants are the new olfactory superheroes. A new...

Read Now

CDC Investigates Stroke Risk Of Pfizer Bivalent Booster

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still looking into the reported stroke risk of older adults who received Pfizer’s bivalent booster shots. Health officials from the agency gave an update Thursday on the issue, which was brought to light earlier this month, saying the...

This Cancer Drug Can Increase Longevity, Study Finds

A new study has found that a particular cancer drug has the ability to extend life span. The finding is a shot in the arm for the scientists racing against time.The study, published in the journal Nature Aging, showed that long-term treatment of healthy mice from middle...

American Heart Association Reports Largest Increase In Cardiovascular-Related Deaths

A recent report by the American Heart Association has found that the COVID-19 pandemic indirectly led to the largest increase in cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S.The data report, published Wednesday in the journal Circulation, found that 2020, the first year of the pandemic, saw the most number...

Ants Can Detect Cancer Tumors In Urine, Scientists Find

Move over dogs, ants are the new olfactory superheroes. A new study has found that ants can "sniff out" cancer tumors in urine samples.The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that ants’ sense of smell is so strong that they can detect...

74th Indian Republic Day Parade 2023 – All You Need To Know

Building on last year’s celebrations, in the 75th year of Independence, celebrated as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the Republic Day celebration this year shall witness zeal, enthusiasm, patriotic fervour, and ‘Jan Bhagidari’, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President Droupadi Murmu will lead the Nation in celebrating...

Here’s What A High-Fat Diet Does To The Brain

Fatty foods taste so good. There’s no denying it. But there’s a new reason to avoid it since according to a recent study, a high-fat diet leads to more food intake and weight gain. Scientists from Penn State College of Medicine reported in their study published in The...

Updated Boosters Lower COVID-19 Risk By Half: CDC

The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters are very dependable when it comes to preventing the disease, with new data showing they cut the risk of getting sick from the coronavirus by about half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new studies on the bivalent boosters this...

Constitution makers’ vision guiding our Republic: Prez Murmu

STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Founders of the Constitution gave us a map and moral framework, the task of “walking that path remains our...

Digital currency to further bolster digital economy, says RBI

CHANDIGARH: Digital currency will further bolster the digital economy, make payment system more efficient, reduce cost involved in physical cash management and also...

Multi-layer security cover in Delhi for Republic Day celebrations

NEW DELHI: A multi-layer security cover has been put in place ahead of Republic Day celebrations in the national capital to thwart any...

Main shooter behind grenade attack on Punjab Police intelligence HQ arrested: NIA

NEW DELHI: A terror operative who was the main shooter in the grenade attack on the Punjab Police intelligence headquarters in Mohali last...

26 unsung heroes honoured with Padma awards

NEW DELHI: Medical professional Dilip Mahalanabis, who returned from the US to serve in 1971-Bangladesh war refugee camps and promoted world wide use...