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Now, migrant voters need not travel back to home state for voting

The Election Commission of India is ready to pilot remote voting for domestic migrants. It has developed prototype Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), which can handle multiple constituencies from a single remote polling booth.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 30 Dec 2022, 6:08 pm

Election Commission of India
Election Commission of India

Domestic migrant voters in India need no more travel back to their home state to vote, as the Election Commission of India (ECI) is ready to pilot remote voting for domestic migrants, according to an ECI statement on Thursday.

Announcing the development of prototype Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), the ECI said that "migration based disenfranchisement is indeed not an option in the age of technological advancement".

Saying that the RVM can handle up to 72 multiple constituencies from a single remote polling booth, the ECI has invited all recognised political parties (8 National and 57 State parties) in India for demonstration of the prototype RVM on January 16, 2023.

Pointing out that the voter turnout in General Elections 2019 was only 67.4 per cent, the Election Commission expressed concern over the issue of over 30 crore electors not exercising their franchise and differential voter turnout in various states/UTs.

"It is understood that there are multifarious reasons for a voter not opting to register in a new place of residence, thus missing out on exercising the right to vote," the ECI said.

Inability to vote due to internal migration (domestic migrants) is one of the prominent reasons to be addressed to improve voter turnout and ensure participative elections, it stressed.

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Although there is no central database available for migration within the country, the analysis of available data in public domain points to work, marriage and education related migration as important components of domestic migration, the ECI said.

Out-migration is predominant among the rural population in overall domestic migration, and approximately 85 per cent of the internal migration is within states, it added.

Citing the case of Dumak village in Chamoli district and realising such empowerment would entail a host of legal, statutory, administrative and technological interventions, the ECI team deliberated at length to find inclusive solutions to facilitate electoral participation of migrants across all socio-economic strata.

The ECI said that it explored alternative voting methods like two-way physical transit postal ballots, proxy voting, early voting at special Early Voting Centres, one-way or two-way electronic transmission of postal ballots (ETPBS), Internet-based voting system etc.

With the objective of finding a technological solution which is credible, accessible and acceptable to all stakeholders, the Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel have now explored the option of using a modified version of the time-tested model of M3 EVMs to enable voting at remote polling stations i.e., polling stations outside home constituency, for domestic migrants.

The migrant voter would thus need not travel back to his/her home district to exercise his/her franchise of voting, the ECI explained.

A concept note has been circulated amongst political parties highlighting the challenges of defining domestic migrants, implementation of Model Code of Conduct, ensuring secrecy of voting, facility of polling agents for identification of voters, process and method of remote voting and counting of votes amongst other issues, the ECI added.

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The ECI further said the Commission in association with a PSU is now ready to pilot a Multi Constituency RVM for facilitating participation of domestic migrants from their remote locations itself i.e., the places of their current residence for purposes of education/employment, etc., for voting for their home constituencies.

The initiative, if implemented, can lead to a social transformation for the migrants and connect with their roots as many times they are reluctant to get themselves enrolled at their place of work for various reasons such as frequently changing residences, not enough social and emotional connect with the issues of area of migration, unwillingness to get their name deleted in electoral roll of their home/native constituencies as they have permanent residence/property etc.

The ECI also said that the technical experts committee will be present during the demonstration of the RVM functioning. It has also solicited written views of recognised political parties by January 31 on various related issues, including changes required in legislation, changes in administrative procedures and voting method/RVM/technology, if any other, for the domestic migrants.

Based on the feedback received from various stakeholders and demonstration of the prototype, the Commission will appropriately carry forward the process of implementing remote voting method, the ECI added.

Also Read: Illegal poppy cultivation to be replaced with high-quality crops in jhum areas: CM Biren

 

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Tags:

ecielection commissionmigrant votersremote votingrvm

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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