Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Now, e-postal ballots for service voters

Members of armed forces and some government employees posted in remote areas or abroad will be able to use a system of electronic postal balloting to make it easier and faster for them to cast their votes.

According to senior officials of the government, the legislative department of the law ministry on Friday issued a notification that brought into effect the process of e-postal ballots.

The technical team of the Election Commission of India has developed a system whereby a blank postal ballot could be electronically transmitted to the voter. The voter would have to download the ballot, fill it in and send it back though the postal service.

The move is another step in the government’s Digital India project.

For now, e-postal ballots will only be available to service voters, including personnel of the armed forces, members of Indian supplementary reserve forces, personnel serving outside the state where they are registered as voters and government officials posted outside the country.

The move dispenses with the existing system of two-way postal ballots, which caused significant delays. It is also aimed at easing the difficulty faced by service voters in casting their votes from remote locations. The new system will enable voters to download a postal ballot, print the same, mark their vote and then use the postal service to mail it to the returning officer. The two-way electronic ballots were discouraged by the Election Commission for “security and secrecy reasons”.

This electronic voting system is being introduced on a pilot basis for service voters, but could be later extended to others including special voters and those in preventive detention.

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