Union Government amends election rules enabling armed forces to get e-postal ballot

Oct 25, 2016 13:37 IST

The Union Government on 24 October 2016 issued a notification amending rule 23 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. The amendment enables service voters, including armed forces personnel, to cast their vote in elections through e-postal ballot.

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With this, the service voters, including personnel from armed forces, can now download the blank post ballot sent to them electronically, mark their preference and post the filled-up ballot back to their respective returning officers.

This will cut short the delay experienced in the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services.

Highlights of the e-postal ballot
• The technical team of the Election Commission has developed a system whereby a blank postal ballot could be electronically transmitted to the voter.
• Voters entitled to postal ballot, such as service voters, can download the postal ballot and print the blank postal ballot.
• After marking his vote in the blank postal ballot, the same would be returned to the concerned Returning Officer by post as in the present system of postal ballot.
• However, on a pilot basis, e-postal ballot system is introduced for service voters consisting of armed police forces of Union Government, other forces subject to the provisions of the Army Act, armed forces of a state and those employed under the Union Government in a post outside India.
• One-way electronic transmission of blank postal ballot will considerably cut short the delay in receipt of the marked postal ballot by the Returning Officers on or before the date fixed for counting of votes.

Background
The issue, regarding difficulties and hardships encountered by the service voters in casting their votes, had earlier come up before the Supreme Court where it was pleaded that an effective mechanism be created for armed forces personnel and their families to exercise their right to vote easily and effectively.

In this backdrop, the government also approached the Election Commission to help mitigate the difficulties faced by service voters while exercising their franchise.

 

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