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remote EVM: Election Commission develops prototype of remote EVM, invites political parties for demo

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India’s Election Commission on Thursday announced that it has developed a remote electronic voting machine (EVM) that will aid in letting domestic migrants – people who have moved to different cities within India – vote during their local elections.

The EC has invited political parties for a demonstration of the machine on January 16. The demonstration is aimed at getting parties’ views on the legal, administrative and technical challenges in implementing it, according to a statement.

“The migration based disenfranchisement is indeed not an option in the age of technological advancement. The voter turnout in General Elections 2019 was 67.4 per cent 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 commission said.

This move is part of the EC’s attempts to ensure that all of India’s eligible voters exercise their franchise.

With 85% of internal migration taking place within the country’s states, the Commission has decided to make access easier and ensure a better voter turnout.

“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. 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,” it said.

According to the Commission, an in-house team has deliberated at length to find inclusive solutions to facilitate electoral participation of migrants across all socio-economic strata and 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), and Internet-based voting system.
“After focus on youth and urban apathy, remote voting will be a transformational initiative for strengthening participation in electoral democracy,” Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said.

Developed by a public sector undertaking, the multi-constituency remote EVM can handle up to 72 constituencies from a single remote polling booth.

With inputs from Agencies

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