EC to find out whether migrants can cast their votes remotely

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) in a statement on Tuesday said that a committee will be constituted to examine the issues of migrant voters and explore the possibility of remote voting on an experimental basis.

“After receiving the report, extensive consultations will be initiated with all stakeholders including political parties,” the election observer said.

A commission official, seeking anonymity, said a concerted effort would have to be made to look into the problems being faced by migrant workers. “We need to see what kinds of technologies can be used to facilitate this.”

The decision was taken during a meeting of the Election Commission on Tuesday chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. Election Commissioner Anoop Chandra Pandey also attended the meeting.

The meeting comes days after Kumar and Pandey covered a distance of about 18 km in the remotest polling stations of Dumak and Kalgoth villages in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on June 3.

“It is further noted that in villages like Dumak and Kalgoth, around 20-25% of the registered voters are unable to cast their vote in their constituencies as they have to move out of their village/state largely because of their job or educational activities. Does matter. ,” said the poll watchdog. “This situation opens up an opportunity to explore the possibilities of the much-awaited leap to facilitate remote voting by overseas voters.”

The commission is looking at the possibility of remote voting by allowing people to cast their votes from their workplaces. The poll body said the project is being tried out on a pilot basis.

“Voters migrate from their place of registration to cities and other places for education, employment and other purposes. It becomes difficult for them to return to their registered polling stations to cast their votes,” it said. “The Commission felt that the time has come to explore the possibilities of remote voting, perhaps on a pilot basis. A committee will be constituted to examine the issues of migrant voters.

Around 10 million migrant workers employed in the unorganized sector are registered on the government’s e-shram portal. At present, postal ballots are only for voters such as army personnel.

In order to address the polling apathy in urban areas, the poll panel decided to undertake focused awareness activities.

The Commission expressed concern over low turnout in some urban areas, despite the fact that polling stations have been set up within 2 km for any voter. “A need was felt to address the apathy of polling in urban areas,” the statement said.

The poll panel decided to undertake focused awareness activities in this regard and took note of the fact that under the Negotiable Instruments Act, the polling day is declared as a holiday for all workplaces with the primary objective of facilitating voting by the employees. is done, the statement said. ,

The Election Commission also directed all Deputy Election Officers and Returning Officers to identify at least five lowest polling stations in each assembly constituency. “They will visit these booths to identify the factors of low turnout and carry out targeted interventions to reduce the factors obstructing the voting process,” the statement said.