Compulsory voting impossible: Election Commission

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 20:56

Bangalore: Election Commission on Wednesday made it
clear that it`s impossible to have compulsory voting in the
country, given the large scale workforce in the unorganised
sector.

"At a scale like in general elections, it`s just not
possible for us to implement that," Chief Election
Commissioner Navin B Chawla told a news conference here. "It`s
very difficult. Completely impossible."

Chawla said some of his counterparts overseas have told him
that compulsory voting hasn`t succeeded in their countries,
where they received large number of medical certificates from
people who did not vote.

He indicated that one of the key reasons for inability to
implement compulsory voting is because a large part of
the Indian population is in unorganised sector.

Chawla wondered how EC can decide what`s more important
for a person in the unorganised sector -- a day`s wages or
voting. In addition, he pointed out that employers in the
unorganised sector are reluctant to give a day`s off to their
employees and pay mandatory wages for that day.

But CEC said it`s for the Parliament and state Legislatures
to take the "first call" on the subject of compulsory voting.

Chawla flatly rejected allegations in some quarters that
Electronic Voting Machines can be tampered with.

"We are 100 per cent satisfied with the integrity of the
machines. We have looked, re-looked, tested, re-tested....we are
completely satisfied," he said.

On the issue of "paid news" during election time, Chawla
said chairman of the Press Council convened two meetings in
which EC officials were represented. EC is now awaiting a
report from the Press Council in this regard.

Chawla and Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said the
Election Commission is concerned by urban voter apathy.
Efforts are being made to draw out people to vote.

Quraishi said the EC is in the process of setting up an
expenditure monitoring division.

PTI




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