EC urges stakeholders’ collaboration for electronic ballot system

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The Election Commission on Wednesday urged stakeholders to collaborate for a successful roll out of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).

“I request the Defence Minister, Home Minister and External Affairs Minister to appoint nodal officers in their respective ministries so that they can regularly interact with the election machinery to help more and more service voters to cast their votes through postal ballot,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi told a seminar here on Service Electors’ Registration and ETPBS.

Zaidi urged stakeholders to help the Election Commission of India (ECI) in revising electoral rolls of service voters, so that more such personnel can exercise their democratic right.

“ECI and its team in collaboration with defence officers in Puducherry’s Nellithope Assembly Constituency successfully conducted ‘ETPBS’,” he said.

“To all four service voters, postal ballots were transmitted electronically and three valid postal ballots received back. These voters will be the first ones probably amongst many continents to have received PB electronically,” he added.

He also said that the electoral rolls relating to service voters is “not satisfactory” and “not updated”.

“Out of nearly 25 lakh personnel of armed forces and central and state police organisations, some 14 lakh are service voters,” he said.

“Therefore, it is our collective duty and constitutional obligation to have every eligible service voter on our roll. All of us will work jointly to fulfil the motto of ECI, ‘No voter to be left behind and Every vote counts’.”

He informed that the “naysayers”, who have raised concerns about the electronic postal ballot system are being addressed by the IT experts so that a fool-proof technology is in place.

“We are working with an open mind to improve the system,” said Zaidi.

The CEC also spoke about the educating service voters, saying: “Providing voter education is a very significant feature in election process and ECI will be providing awareness brochures and education materials for service personnel in various languages.

“We have planned to impart special training to all those people who are part of this process.”