Pune district election commission shows the way as 7,500 enrolment forms filled in just 30 days

A unique drive which was held across housing societies in the city to register residents in the voters list from October 1 received an overwhelming response, according to authorities
Deputy election officer Monika Singh (in green colour dress) at the administrative godown in Bhosari during the inspection of electronic voting machines, which were brought to Pune in the beginning of October.(HT Photo)
Deputy election officer Monika Singh (in green colour dress) at the administrative godown in Bhosari during the inspection of electronic voting machines, which were brought to Pune in the beginning of October.(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 26, 2018 03:20 PM IST
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ByParth Welankar

In a first of its kind attempt by the district election commission in the city, the authorities have reached out to housing societies to tackle the problem of getting all the voters in the city registered with the commission. Subsequently, Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram along with deputy election officer Monika Singh and president of the federation of housing societies, Maharashtra, Suhas Patwardhan held a meeting last week with at least 250 housing society representatives to ensure maximum enrolment of citizens. 

What is termed as an overwhelming response from the housing societies by the district election commission authorities, the commission received over 7,500 enrolment forms within a month. The campaign was started by the Pune district election commission on October 1. 

Singh said, “This is our first attempt to hold such voter registration special camps across the cities. While just in a months’ time we have received over 7,500 forms from different housing societies, we are hopeful that the number will certainly increase.” 

The basic idea to involve the housing societies is to check that voters belong to the same area, check if there were any deaths, or if people have shifted to a new place and also find out the status of every voter, said Singh. 

She added, “By using the housing societies, we also want to create awareness among the residents to register as a voter.” 

Patwardhan said, “It is an achievement for the efforts taken by the district election commission as 7,500 forms within a month is a commendable figure. Housing societies play a crucial role in this and they can ensure maximum number of voter enrolment.” 

Appreciating the efforts taken by the district election commission office, KC Garg secretary, Pimpri-Chinchwad housing societies federation, said, “It is for the first time that such proactive measures for such an important aspect of the democracy was undertaken by the district election commission. Residents of different housing societies are aware of the basic intricacies of the society and thus, their assistance could be of huge help to the government.” 

 Meanwhile, the electoral officer has a count of only 9,000 youth voters (age group of 18 to 19 years) in Pune city while their target is to get above one lakh youth voters.

Singh said, “We have noticed that there are very few youngsters in the age group of 18 to 19 years and we want to push them to register as voters.”  One of the steps being taken to increase awareness is interaction with principals of various schools in the city and getting details of students who turn 18. We will, then, tap into these students, added Singh.

Besides this, the election commission of Pune is also working towards enrolling maximum number of persons with disability (PWD) voters in the district. So far, the commission has been able to identify around 8,500 PWD voters in the district.

Political parties invited to oversee inspection of new electronic voting machines

Amid allegations by various political parties about the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being compromised post the poll results in various states and local bodies, election commission Pune has taken efforts to dispel fears, if any.

In a bid to avoid controversies post the 2019 general elections as well as the state elections, the Pune election commission for the first time in the city has invited representatives of all the political parties to study the process of inspections of the EVM machines currently going on in the city.

On August 12 , the Pune district election commission received new M3 EVMs which are kept at the administrative godown in Bhosari as the inspection of these machines through a trial process is currently underway.

Monika Singh, Pune district deputy electoral officer, said, “We have appealed to all the political parties to visit the process of inspections of the new EVM machines which we have received. It is important for all the stakeholders of the city to understand the transparency in the process of elections through the EVM machines.”

She added, “Rather than making allegations post the results of the elections, we request all the leaders to understand the process and point out the objections now, so that the mistakes if any, can be rectified or the doubts of the politicians can be clarified.”

Shivajinagar minister of legislative assemble, Vijay Kale, said, “Such active steps ensuring transparency in the election process is indeed welcome. All the political parties, including the opposition, who allege that EVMS are compromised should visit the place where inspection of the EVM machines is in progress. I will visit the inspection site personally in the coming week.”

According to Singh, the district administration has given the political parties a months’ time (From November 1 to December 1) to carry out this process of communication and accordingly act on them.

For the first time, the EVM machines used during the elections will also have a system called as the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) which is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot-less voting system. “VVPAT systems will further add to the transparent election process in the district. VVPAT will display the name of the political party, an individual has voted for, seven seconds after casting of votes on the EVM machine,” said Singh.

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