* Toll-free ‘1950’ to give electorates’ information
GUWAHATI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced a number of facilities to ensure that voters can exercise their franchise without any hiccups. The visually impaired or blind voters will be able to cast their votes using the Braille system. The State Election Department is in contact with the Braille Press in this matter. Moreover, a voters’ helpline number has also been activated. Besides, specialized mobile apps have also been introduced this time. These initiatives are part of the ECI’s strategic framework for ‘accessible elections’.
Sources informed that the sequence of candidates’ names in the Braille voters slip will be similar to that of the normal voters’ slip. This facility will be available in all the 14 Parliamentary constituencies of the State. Besides, each polling station will also have this facility. As per the latest data, there are 28,143 polling stations across the State.
The Braille voter slips were already issued during the recently held Assembly polls. The ECI also plans to provide Braille election photo identity cards (BEIPCs). The electronic voting machines already have the Braille feature. The ballot paper pasted on the machine with name and symbol of candidates is Braille enabled.
Braille is a script with raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision. It is a tactical reading and writing system used by blind and visually impaired people who cannot access print material.
The toll-free voters’ helpline number is 1950. By dialing this number, a person would be able to check the status of his/her position in the electoral roll. There would be additional election-related information there for the public as well. This number at the Chief Election Officer’s office at Janata Bhawan here is already activated. There are other Android-based Apps specifically designed for the 2019 general election. These are cVIGIL, Suvidha, and Pwd. They can be downloaded on Google Playstore.
cVIGIL stands for “citizens’ vigil”. It provides time-stamped evidentiary proof of model code of conduct/expenditure violation, and has live photo/video facilities with auto location data. The App will work only during the time the model code of conduct (MCC) is in place in a poll-bound State. “These uploads will be verified by the units concerned subsequently,” the Chief Election Officer, Assam, MC Sahu pointed out.
Using the Suvidha App, a political party’s representative, candidate and election agent can apply for various permissions for election purpose.
The Pwd App is meant for ‘people with disabilities’. The ECI is working towards easing the voter identification and registration process for the PwDs by offering them customized services during election time.