EC Develops Prototype To Enable Domestic Migrants Vote Remotely

To encourage domestic migrants to exercise their franchise, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday informed about a prototype Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), which would enable migrant voters to vote from remote polling stations.

“Migration-based disenfranchisement is indeed not an option in the age of technological advancement. The voter turnout in General Elections 2019 was 67.4 % and the Election Commission of India is concerned about the issue of over 30 Crore electors not exercising their franchise and also differential voter turnout in various States/UTs,” the ECI said in a statement.
It said the inability to vote due to internal migration (domestic migrants) is one of the prominent reasons behind low voter turnout.

With the objective of finding a technological solution that 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, 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 the home constituency, for domestic migrants, the statement further read.

The migrant voter wouldn’t be required to travel to his/her home district to exercise his/her franchise.

The Commission has also circulated a concept note amongst the 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, among other issues.

A Multi Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM) is being piloted by the Commission for facilitating the participation of domestic migrants from their remote locations itself.

The modified form of EVM can handle up to 72 multiple constituencies from a single remote polling booth. 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 an area of migration, unwillingness to get their name deleted in the electoral roll of their home/native constituencies as they have permanent residence/property, the ECI further informed.

The Commission has also invited all recognized eight national and 57 regional political parties on January 16, 2023, to demonstrate the functioning of the multi-constituency prototype Remote EVM. Members of the EC’s Technical Expert Committee will also be present during the demonstration.

The Commission has also solicited written views of recognized political parties by January 31, 2023, 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, the release further stated. (ANI)

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