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Remote EVM ready to help migrants vote outside States: EC

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    6th Jan, 2023

Context

The Election Commission of India says that it has developed a prototype for a Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine which would enable remote voting by migrant voters.

About

Why is there a Need for Remote Voting?

  • Decrease in Voting Turnout: During the 2019 General elections, nearly 300 million citizens out of a total of 910 million electors didn’t cast their votes.
  • Due to Unfavorable Conditions: Voter migration makes it difficult for them to return to their registered polling stations to cast their vote.
  • Concerns Regarding Metropolitan Areas: Despite the fact that polling stations are set up within 2 km for any voter in urban areas, there is low voter turnout in some of the metropolitan/cities.
  • Increasing Registrations of Unorganized Workers: There are nearly 10 million migrant workers, registered with the government’s e-SHRAM portal. In this context, the remote voting facility will result in an increased voting percentage.
  • Health Concerns: The health concerns of mainly the senior citizens are also a reason for low voter turnout.

The problem: migration-based disenfranchisement

  • Domestic migration: It has been a big reason why registered voters do not end up voting.
  • Increasing numbers: As per the 2011 census, there are nearly 45.36 crore migrants in India (both intra and interstate).
    • It amounts to approximately 37 percent of the country’s population.
  • Voting denied: For a large chunk of the population, its franchise gets denied due to exigencies of work or lack of resources to travel.
    • This goes directly against the EC’s “No voter left behind” goal.
  • The Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM)can handle multiple constituencies from a single remote polling booth.

What is Remote Voting?

  • Remote voting may take place in person somewhere other than an assigned polling station or at another time, or votes may be sent by post or cast by an appointed proxy.
  • This is where Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), comes as a solution.

Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM)

  • Development: The RVM was developed with the assistance of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
  • Technology: It is based on the currently used EVM system.
  • RVMs are “stand-alone, non-networked systems”.

Standalone system:

  • It is an application or software that does not need to be bundled with other software or applications, nor does it require anything else to function.
  • It's software that can “stand on its own” without help from the Internet or another processor computer.
  • Procedure: RVM will be set up in remote locations outside the state under similar conditions as current polling booths.

Significance:

  • Domestic migrants don’t have to travel back to their home states to vote.
  • It can lead to a social transformation for the migrants
  • It will help to boost voter turnout.
  • It will also help in strengthening India’s democratic process as voters will be connected with their roots.

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