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As the Election Commission goes digital, now after e-EPIC, ECI looks forward to ‘remote voting facility’.

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Shillong, Feb 21: In a move forward, the Election Commission of India looking forward to have ‘Mock trials’ for the remote voting facility for the electors in the country, the facility is expected to give relief to the migrant workers working in different states to earn their livelihood.

Talking about this initiative of the Election Commission, the Chief Electoral officer Meghalaya Fredrick R Kharkongor said, “The election commission has always been championing in technological use in various forms right from pre-election to during election to post-election….. The launch of EPIC is one step towards that idea (of remote voting), so how and when will it take wings is what we have to see in the future.”

Elaborating further, he said, “The remote voting has been tried in some countries like Estonia where the connectivity is very good, where the political atmosphere is very sound perhaps it’s an idea that can be explored but I think lots of changes are required because you have to go for constitutional measures, you have to change the RP act (Representation of people act).”

Talking about the shift in the electioneering process, Kharkongor said, “As we know initially in the RP act, it was about using the paper ballot box and then after that technical committee examined than they suggested that we have the EVMs and the VVPAT, so all those have gone through a very long process of scrutiny, field testing and even with the case of EVMs and VVPATs also it was pilot tested …..Same with the remote voting also I think there is a process that will be initiated where they have to pilot-tested some areas and see what is the outcome, what is the value and the quality of the new method that has been tried out.”

Asked, the Chief Electoral Officer of Meghalaya said, “So I am sure that the process will be on to sought of determine how far it is effective and whether to widen that reach so those are areas I think the commission will look into.”

It may be mentioned, on the eve of the 11th National Voter’s Day in January, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the trials of the Election Commission’s remote voting project would be carried out soon.

In his television and radio address on the eve of the National Voters Day, Mr. Arora highlighted the vision of the EC going forward.

“We have already started a research project on remote voting using cutting-edge technology with IIT-Chennai and other leading institutions and it has made good progress. Mock trials of this project will begin soon,” he said.

Asked will Meghalaya volunteer for the pilot testing of the project? the Chief Electoral Officer of Meghalaya, FR Kharkongor said, “No we haven’t got any communication yet to that end about pilot testing it, so far I can’t comment on it because we haven’t got any communication yet, it’s just an idea right now. “

Asked if in 2023 Meghalaya plans to go for this, he said “There are many aspects which need to be examined in terms of connectivity, training, acceptability so it’s something which needs wide stakeholders consultation and also looking at whether we have the logistic, we have the bandwidth to be able to do it so I think it will be something which they will be examining from the 360-degree angle if it is possible or applicable.”

According to a PTI report, the Election Commission has collaborated with IIT-Madras to work on a new technology which will allow electors to vote from faraway cities without going to designated polling station of their constituencies

Mock trials for the remote voting facility for electors would begin soon, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has said.

In his message to mark the 11th National Voters’ Day, he said a research project on remote voting using cutting-edge technology has already begun.

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