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Set up booths in high-rises to boost urban voter turnout, ECI tells CEOs

By, Patna
Sep 27, 2023 09:06 PM IST

Similar exercise should be also carried out in slum clusters in urban areas and also where outgrowth has taken place in the expanding urban/ semi-urban areas, the letter says.

In a bid to ensure higher voter turnout in urban areas during polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked chief electoral officers (CEOs) of states to identify group housing societies and high-rise residential buildings having community centres or adequate space for setting up polling stations, according to an ECI communique issued by Bihar’s state election department on Wednesday.

An apartment complex in Patna. (HT FILE)
An apartment complex in Patna. (HT FILE)

In the same communique, the ECI has also notified the CEOs about the revised schedule of draft publication of the updated electoral roll as per special summary revision.

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As per revised schedule, the publication of draft rolls, which was scheduled for October 17, will now be done October 27 while claims/objections on the voters’ list would now be invited from October 27 to December 9.

As per previous schedule, claims/objections on the voters’ list were scheduled to be invited from October 17 to November 30.

In its letter to CEOs of all states/ UTs, the ECI has told CEOs that as part of the ongoing rationalisation of booths, extensive survey should be taken up to identify those urban areas where group housing societies and high-rise residential buildings exist and have adequate space at the ground floor for setting up polling stations for resident electors.

Similar exercise should be also carried out in slum clusters in urban areas and also where outgrowth has taken place in the expanding urban/ semi-urban areas, the letter says.

“All DMs (district magistrates) are being instructed to follow the new ECI guidelines,” said a state election department official, who did not wish to be named.

However, he said, the process of setting up booths in high-rise buildings in Bihar, especially in capital Patna, has its challenges because not many of them have adequate common space available.

This year, rationalisation of booths is being done to ensure that the number of voters in each booth is capped at 1,500 as against 1,000 in the last few years due to restrictions enforced because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The final publication of the updated electoral roll is scheduled for January 5, 2024.

The total number of electors in Bihar, as per the last updated list in January this year, is 7.58 crore, of which 3.97 crore are male, 3.60 crore female and 2,418 from the third gender.

The voter ’ turnout in the 2020 assembly polls in different phases had varied from 52 per cent to 54 per cent, as per official data.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A journalist for 21 years, Anirban covers RJD, legislature and government beats. Has extensive experience in covering elections and writes regularly on finance, land reforms, registration, excise and socio-economic issues.

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