ECI ready to pilot remote voting for domestic migrants

ITANAGAR, Dec 30: Migration based disenfranchisement is indeed not an option in the age of technological advancement. The voter turnout in General Elections 2019 was 67.4 per cent and the Election Commission of India is concerned about the issue of over 30 crore electors not exercising their franchise and also differential voter turnout in various states and UTs.

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, a communiqué informed here on Friday.

Although there is no central database available for migration within the country, the analysis of available data in 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. Approximately 85 per cent of the internal migration is within the states.

Soon after assuming office as Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar’s learning of domestic migration issues first hand from his trek to Dumak village in Chamoli district, focused his attention on enabling the migrant voters to exercise their franchise from their current place of residence.

Realising such empowerment would entail a host of legal, statutory, administrative and technological interventions, ECI team 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), Internet-based voting system etc.

With the objective of finding a technological solution which is credible, accessible and acceptable to all stakeholders, the Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv 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 EVMs to enable voting at remote polling stations i.e., polling stations outside home constituency, for domestic migrants.

The migrant voter would thus need not travel back to his/her home district to exercise his/her franchise of voting.

A concept note has been circulated amongst political parties highlighting the challenges of defining domestic migrants, implementation of Model Code of Conduct, ensuring secrecy of voting, facility of polling agents for identification of voters, process and method of remote voting and counting of votes.

The Commission in association with a renowned Public Sector Undertaking is now ready to pilot a multi constituency remote electronic voting machine (RVM) for facilitating participation of domestic migrants from their remote locations itself, the communiqué added.

Related posts