Few takers for online voting in Gujarat civic body polls

e-voting introduced by Gujarat State Election Commission for polling in six municipal corporations held on Sunday, had very few takers as only 806 people voted online out of the total of over 95.9 lakh voters.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 23, 2015, 09:57 AM IST

Ahmedabad: e-voting introduced by Gujarat State Election Commission for polling in six municipal corporations held on Sunday, had very few takers as only 806 people voted online out of the total of over 95.9 lakh voters.

Gujarat SEC has been the first in the country to allow online voting facility for voters of eight municipal corporations areas of the state. This facility was first offered to voters in 2010, and this was the second election were voters could vote online.

Also Read: 45 percent voter turnout in Gujarat civic polls

Political parties feel that SEC should make the procedure for online voting simpler and promote it among youths to popularise its use.

The Central Election Commission had recently sent its Election Commissioner AK Joti to learn about the e-voting platform of the SEC with a view to find out the possibilities of implementing it in Assembly and Parliament Elections.

Though over 20,000 people had applied for registration for e-voting in the six municipal corporation areas in 2015, but when it came to submitting their documents for verification only 1,310 voters completed the procedure, officials of SEC said.

"Out of 1,310 finally registered voters, 806 people voted online yesterday," SEC officials said.

Experts feel that though the facility provided by the SEC is good, it needs to be popularised among youths.

"Though the facility is good, the administration needs to spread more awareness and popularise it among youths so more and more people will take benefit of the facility," computer expert Rajesh Joshi said.

The EC has also created one online voting booth for e-voters but they need to have more such booths so that those who do not have access to Internet facility can come to such booths and vote, he said.

Former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who had registered himself for online voting, could not do so yesterday as his registration was not finalised. Patel had to travel all the way to Rajkot his hometown to exercise his vote. Congress and BJP members are of the opinion that the process of online voting is more complicated than physical voting.

"Online voting has not picked up as the process is more complicated then voting in a booth. You have to get registered first, then you have to go the EC office and get your verification done and even after that on the day of voting it might not work," BJP spokesperson Harsad Patel said.

"The SEC needs to make this procedure simple to attract more voters," he said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, "They should promote it more among youths so that they will use it."

For e-voting, one has to register first with the SEC and on the polling day, a voter is free to vote online on specially created SEC online voting website.

In 2010, 67.76 percent of those who had registered themselves had voted online. While in July 2014, Junagadh Municipal Corporation polls 75.95 percent of registered voters had used e-voting facilities.