EC to use VVPAT EVMs in Meghalaya assembly election

RSTV Bureau

Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Frederick K Kharkongor said Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) EVMs introduced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) will be used during the state assembly elections, slated to be held next year.

“The VVPAT will be used in the 3082 polling stations in all the 60 assembly constituencies,” Kharkongor said while addressing at the launching of the special summary revision 2018 held at the East Khasi Hills District deputy commissioner’s office.

Launching the VVPAT awareness video in presence of representatives of the different political parties during the occasion, Kharkongor said, “VVPAT is a new component of the entire election management by the Election Commission of India.”

With the introduction of this new element into the voting process, he said, “There will be much more faith and credibility in the voting system. The entire voter’s satisfaction will reach an all-time high.”

File photo of newly named Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti.

File photo of newly named Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti.

The CEO said it is important to educate all the stakeholders of the election process, various officers, political parties, and voters that this is a voter-centric component introduced for the benefit of the voters so that he/she is satisfied.

He informed that after a voter press the button on the electronic voting machine (EVM), a slip will be opened on the VVPAT machine for only seven seconds for the voter to get a view before it drops back into the box. “Voters, however, cannot take the slip along with them,” he added.

“We have bifurcated number of polling stations. Earlier we have 2771 polling stations but now that has gone up to 3082 its up by 311 polling stations,” he said.

The CEO also launched the Meghalaya Election Atlas in collaboration with North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) and also the SVEEP Music Video entitled as Tarak Tak Tak during the state level function.

Kharkongor also released the Mission Unite Report and distributed of CD containing draft electoral roll to political parties which include ruling Congress, UDP, HSPDP, KHNAM, and others.

On the E-Atlas, the CEO said that it will be a good planning tool for the election team when they are in the actual process of conducting the elections where just at the click of a button details on the location of the polling stations, number of voters and others will be provided.

He further informed that the music video Tarak Tak Tak which means a call to action is an effort to encourage people to feel that voting is something which is their responsibility and that they need to part of the entire electioneering process.

File photo of voters standing in queue show their identity cards during the first phase of Manipur legislative assembly Election

File photo of voters standing in queue show their identity cards during the first phase of Manipur legislative assembly Election

In order to motivate the people not only enroll but also to vote during the election, he said the music video will also be released in the social media, radio and others.

The CEO said that the election department is targeting to achieve enrollment of 18 lakh voters from the present registered electorate of 17.68 lakh.

“The remaining 76,000 is a figure which we will try to attempt to achieve,” he said.

“Urban empathy is one challenge we will be facing but together with political parties, we will ensure urban voters come out to vote,” he said even as he informed that the Meghalaya Vote Application (MVA) was also launched to help motivate voters in urban areas.

He said, “We hope with the onset of election, this App will help voters search for his/her poling stations and also use Google earth to locate his booth…”

Referring to political parties taking social media in a very major way, he said that the next battle will not be a traditionally fought battle but will be fought in the social media platform.

“Working our way through the social media is one thing we need to devote our time and efforts … we have the CEO Facebook account for updates and information of the various activities,” he said.

“This is the last big campaign and as we go to the polls we would like to ensure maximum voters and maximum voting. The last voting percentage was 80 per cent plus and we hope this time it will be enhanced and increase by 90 per cent,” he said.

The schedule for the special summary revision include the draft publication of electoral rolls on September 27, period for filing of claims and objections September 27 to October 31, special campaign dates October 7 and October 21, disposal of claims/objections November 13.

While the updating the database, merging of photographs, updating the control tables and preparation and printing of supplementary list is fixed on December 19 and the final publication of electoral rolls is on January 10, next year.

Meanwhile, the CEO also informed that a team from the Election Commission of India will soon be visiting the state next month