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Election Commission plans to introduce downloadable ballot papers for security forces

V S Sampath

One way journey time to reach the returning officer can be saved with the plan 

V S SampathWashington:  For the first time, lakhs of paramilitary soldiers may be able to download the ballot paper from the Internet, cast their vote and send it by post to the returning officer in the next Lok Sabha elections.

At the initiative of the paramilitary forces like BSF and CRPF, the Election Commission is working on such a plan, which would make postal voting much easier for these force personnel who would be deployed in remote parts of the country.

“This (downloadable ballot papers) is actually a suggestion, which we are right now looking at seriously for the defense personnel,” Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said, adding that such a move would reduce the one way travel time of postal ballots during the elections.

“We are trying to do that for them. We are working on it. At least we (would) save time for one way journey. After that how quickly you (voters) send the ballot to us (Election Commission). It is in your interest to go to some efficient courier and send it,” he said at an event organised at the Indian Embassy here in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) yesterday.

Sampath said the para military forces including CRPF and BSF have taken the initiative in this regard. “Most likely we are to experiment that in the parliamentary elections for these people. Their number may be one million or so. That would give us a good experimental experience. Perhaps if it succeeds, we should be able to think about expanding this for others also,” Sampath said.

These paramilitary forces, he said, have got a data base where they have all the addresses and registered voters.

“Once we succeed in that, we would be able to extend it to other sections also,” he added. Sampath also said that he is looking for a fool-proof and non-tamperable technology for internet voting.

“We are very cautious when it comes to internet voting. Some of you should come and tell us how we could get us a totally fool-proof, non-tamperable internet voting,” he said when asked about the option for internet voting by NRIs.

“As it is (currently), we have difficulties even in convincing the doubting people about our stand alone machine. This is not to say, we have any doubts. Please tell us how safely we can introduce internet voting,” he said.


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