Tuesday, April 20, 2021
India

CEC hopeful concept of remote voting will see the light of day by next Lok Sabha polls

Sunil Arora

New Delhi, March 20: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora Saturday expressed hope the concept of remote voting will see “the light of day” by the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and said that a pilot project could begin in the next two-three months.


Addressing an event here, he said, the EC had early this year started a research project for enabling remote voting, in consultation with IIT Madras and eminent technologists from IITs and other leading institutions.
Over the last few months, a dedicated team has been working hard for giving shape to this project, he said, adding the concept would hopefully “see the light of day” by 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The first pilot project could be rolled out in the next “two to three months”, the CEC said.
It needs to be underscored that the project is neither aimed at internet-based voting nor does it imply voting from home, he observed.
For the Commission, transparency and confidentiality of voting has always been a guiding consideration in ensuring free, fair and credible elections, he said, adding the Commission will soon be giving shape to the final model of such voting, after due deliberation on various options.
This will entail some process changes as well, he said, adding there will be wider consultations with political parties and other stakeholders.
Explaining the “blockchain” technology involved in the project, former Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena had earlier said the concept is a “two-way electronic voting system in a controlled environment on white-listed IP devices on dedicated Internet lines enabled with biometric devices and a web camera”.
Saxena, however, had made it clear that voters will have to reach a designated venue during a pre-decided period of time to be able to use this facility.
It does not mean voting from home, Saxena had said.
On the issue of Commission’s proposal to allow eligible overseas Indian voters use one-way electronically transferred postal ballots to cast vote, Arora said after the elections to five assemblies are over, the poll panel would hold a seminar with all stakeholders as suggested by the government.
He expressed hope that the concept would materialise in the next six months or a year.
At present, non-resident Indians can vote in the constituency in which their place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located.


Some time ago, the Commission began to look for options to enable NRIs to vote from overseas after it received several requests for expanding their voting options.
At the event, Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Supriya Sule (NCP) and Shrirang Appa Barne (Shiv Sena) were given the ‘Sansad Maha Ratna Award’ for their sustained qualitative overall performance in the 16th Lok Sabha.
Twelve Parliamentarians including the Chairman of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture were given the Sansad Ratna Awards.
The awards were instituted in 2010 by a Chennai-based NGO Prime Point Foundation, and the eMagazine PreSense. (PTI)

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