2019 Lok Sabha Polls
GUWAHATI, Aug 6: The ball has been set rolling in Assam for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the State Election department informing the Election Commission of India (ECI) that 877 new polling stations would be required to be set up across the State. The number has been reached after the State Election department carried out a rationalization survey of the polling stations vis-a-vis electorates in the State following a directive from ECI. The Lok Sabha elections are slated for April-May 2019.
Election department sources further informed that the draft electoral roll for the 2019 LS polls would be published on October 1 while the final electoral roll is scheduled to come out in January 2019.
The ECI instruction for rationalization of the polling stations came in the wake of the Election Commission’s decision to go for both the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPSATs) in all polling stations.
However, the time factor was one of the prime factors that made the ECI to call for the polling station rationalization process. Under normal circumstances, a minimum of seven seconds is required for the printing of a single voting slip. In polling stations having a large number of voters, the time taken to print the VVPAT slips might be pretty long and it might not be even possible for the supervising personnel to complete the exercise within the slated timeframe.
The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot-less voting system. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate. When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT. The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice. After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip is cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep is heard. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.
According to the 2018 final electoral rolls, there were 27,267 polling stations in Assam. The total voters enlisted were 2,12,47,854 of whom males voters were 10905984, female voters 10341428 and third gender voters were 442.