Time to explore options for remote voting: Electoral Commission

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Days after Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar embarked on an hour-long march to a remote polling station in Uttarakhand, the polling committee decided on Tuesday to double the pay of poll workers traveling to those polling booths three days before polling day.

In a statement, the EC said that to increase the percentage of voting, especially among migrants, “the time has come to explore the possibilities of remote voting, perhaps on a pilot basis”.

“Voters migrate from the place of their 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 vote. The commission found that now was the time to explore the possibilities of remote voting, perhaps on a pilot basis,” he said.

A committee would be set up to examine the problems of migrant voters. Since voters and political parties are the main stakeholders, a broader consultation with all stakeholders, including parties, would be launched afterwards, he explained.

At a meeting of the voting committee, it was also decided to develop additional water and shock resistant backpacks or protective cases to carry the EVM-VVPATs and protect the machines provided to all these teams. to facilitate hands-free movement in difficult terrain.

Seeking to combat voter apathy in urban areas, all central and state government departments, central and state PSUs, and companies with more than 500 employees will appoint a nodal officer to vet furloughed but non-voting employees.

“It’s kind of a name and shame because people in polling areas are given the day off under the Negotiable Instruments Act for the primary purpose of making it easier for employees to vote,” one explained. high official.

“In empathy with the dedication of electoral staff who carry out electoral tasks in remote and difficult areas, the Commission has decided to double the remuneration of electoral workers traveling to polling stations three days in advance. So far, pay for poll workers was a flat per diem amount for all. State and UT Chief Electoral Officers must specifically notify these polling places of enhanced pay during elections,” an EC statement said.

This is the third major decision taken by the EC in the past three weeks after Kumar took over as CEC.

The commission noted that the EVM-VVPAT machines were technologically engineered to go into “unauthorized access mode” whenever there is an unauthorized attempt to open it and they become inoperable due to the programmable chip only once.

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