Voter ID portability, e-slips on EC’s mind ahead of polls

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2016 14:33 IST
File photo of first time voters. The Election Commission is keen on employing information technology to streamline the voting process during the upcoming state assembly polls. (Raj K Raj / HT File Photo )

Registered voters in the five states going to polls this year could get their photo voters slips through electronic means such as SMS and e-mails.

As on date, these are delivered at the voters’ doorsteps but with the Election Commission (EC) keen on employing information technology to streamline the voting process, these slips will also be sent out electronically.

“A pilot project was carried out in the Tamil Nadu by-elections in 2015 where some voters who had provided us their e-mail IDs and mobile phone numbers were able to receive their slips through SMS. Those with smartphones were able to purview the information through an app. The project is now gradually being scaled up, we will implement this in phases in several districts,” said an official.

The EC is also looking at allowing electoral photo identity card (EPIC) number portability that will allow voters registered in one place to retain their cards without having to re-register at a new place.

State assembly elections will be held in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam in the coming months.

To ensure that electoral lists do not have the names of deceased voters and are free from duplication, the EC will dip into the data bank of the registrar of births and deaths of each district.

Every EPIC has a unique number of alphanumeric strings, alphabetical codes and numerical digits. They have been made compulsory to prevent chances of impersonation and bogus voting.

The EC is also working out details of conducting the 2019 general elections through paper trail-based EVMs to enhance transparency.

Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said though voting through the internet was not on the cards yet, ICT will be relied on to reach voters. “We have reached a stage where people are demanding 100% deployment of paper audit trail machine. Our plan is that by 2019, the country will be covered by paper audit trail machines,” Zaidi said at a function on Tuesday.

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