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The Election Commission of India (ECI) is considering the recommendations proposed by working groups it set up in 2019.

More about the news:

  • About the working groups
    • Nine working groups were constituted after the Lok Sabha election.
    • It comprised of ECI officials and State Chief Electoral Officers
    • Working groups collated inputs from the field, analyzed these inputs in the context of existing legal and institutional frameworks, and suggested pathways for the future to add value to the electoral process in the country.
  • Amongst the proposals of these working groups following are under consideration currently
  • New voting methods
  • Capping the campaign expenditure of political parties
  • Online registration of new voters at 17 years 
  • Ending social media campaigning 48 hours before polling
  • Recently ECI published 25 of the main recommendations and invited comments or suggestions from the public.

More about the recommendations under consideration

  • Simplifying the procedures through the unified and simplified form for all services
    • ECI is considering replacing all the forms for various voter services, including registration of new voters and change of address, with one single form.
    • These are aimed at increasing the efficiency of the overall process. 
  • New Online facilities for all prospective voters at 17 years of age  at the school or college-level:
    • By this move, prospective voters would be enrolled in the electoral roll as soon as they become eligible at 18. The ECI also recommended four cut-off dates in a year to enroll as a voter. 
  • Currently, January 1 is the qualifying date so those who turn 18 after that date are not eligible to vote the whole year. 
  • The ECI has proposed January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 as the qualifying dates, while the Law Ministry has suggested two dates January 1 and July 1.
  • Considering the possibility and feasibility of different voting methods which is secure and safe to ease and improve electoral participation.
    • Electronic voter cards: The ECI proposed to give out electronic versions of the voter ID card EPIC for the convenience of voters.
  • The ECI has already implemented a one-way online transfer of postal ballots for service and implemented the same for the whole country in 2019. 

It has been seen that approximately 30% of electors are not able to participate in elections for various reasons, some of them may be polling to the category of migrants who continue to remain voters at their previous locations. 

  • Expenditure cap for political parties:
    • The recommendations included an online nomination of candidates and a cap on the spending allowed by parties. Currently, individual candidates are allowed a limited expenditure on campaigning.
  • Silence Period of 48 hours before polling on social media and print media: Campaigning on electronic media in the last 48 hours before polling is prohibited currently.

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Election Commission Of India

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