Election Commission Launches Campaign to Woo Servicemen
Drive to be on till Nov; there are over 20 lakh defence & paramilitary personnel in India
New Delhi: In a bid to encourage voters in the services category—mainly defence personnel and para military forces, the Election Commission (EC) has launched a drive to urge them to sign up in electoral rolls.
EC officials said a special drive till November has been launched after the recently held Assembly elections in states like Punjab and Uttrakhand saw a very poor voter turnout in this category. While the EC had allowed voting through E-ballots in the assembly elections in Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, officials said the voter turnout has so far been very low at a mere 10% percent so far. “Both Punjab and Uttarakhand have a sizeable number of voters in the services category and we had hoped that the introduction of E-ballots would help in getting voters to vote. But this has not happened,” an official said.
While there are over 20 lakh defence and paramilitary personnel in the REASONS
DESPITE THE INTRODUCTION OF
E-ballots in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, voter turnout was at a mere 10%
and even deaths on duty hinder upkeep of records country, the first pilot of the one-sided E-ballot system, in which the voter can download the ballot paper sent by EC via email and mail it back by post after after casting his or her vote, was introduced first in the elections in Pondicherry in August 2016, the second pilot was carried out for the assembly elections held in early 2017. Prior to that voters were allowed to cast their votes through proxy voting by nominating a person in their constituency of residence to vote for them.
One of the reasons identified, the official said, is that there is no definite data on the number of eligible voters in the category apart from the figures provided by the census. “Our electoral rolls haven’t been updated properly. Factors such as transfers, postings and even deaths on-duty have led to lack of upkeep of records,” he said. With Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are due to go to polls this year, followed by assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan next year, officials said that a targeted drive can help ascertain the reach of electoral reforms, such as introduction of e ballots- only if the election commission had an accurate electoral list.