Manipur polls: EC looks to technology and mobile apps to increase transparency and security

The upcoming assembly elections in Manipur will be laid on new technological foundations as the Election Commission turns to technology to reach remote areas and ensure transparency and security. .

Following long-standing allegations of ‘mismatch’ between EVM and VVPAT, the Election Commission of India is introducing a new Symbol Loading Unit (SLU) as a pilot project in Manipur state elections.

Morian Suleiman Daulat Khan, Joint Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur, said in an interview with India Today that the new SLU developed by Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) will allow political parties to view symbols loaded into VVPAT machines. He said he would be able to do it.

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The SLU programmed by the engineer uploads the party symbol to VVPAT. You can view the document being uploaded to VVPAT on a large screen. Once the SLU data is uploaded, the machine itself remains in the hands of the district election officer until the polls are closed. To ensure transparency, election officials from each political party will be allowed to observe the upload process via large screens.

“There have been several incidents where political parties have claimed that VVPAT is not appropriate or that pressing one button on an EVM will show votes for other parties. This new technology will bring transparency. political parties will be able to see what symbols are loaded on VVPAT and there will be fewer complaints,” Khan said. Senior officials from ECI and ECIL will arrive in Manipur next week to monitor the functioning of the SLU pilot project.

Streamline the voting process with a mobile app

A mobile app created by the Northeast Space Application Center, specially created for Manipur elections, has been introduced to streamline the election process.

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A special app called “Voter Facilitator” has been launched to allow voters over 80 and those with disabilities to book “transportation” or wheelchairs to access polling places on Election Day.

“There are 738 voters who are over 100 years old. There are also a significant number of voters who are over 80 years old. The Director of Elections is making every effort to make polling places accessible to elderly and disabled voters.” said Mr. Khan.

Older voters can also choose a “volunteer helper,” a student volunteer under the age of 18, who can help them get to the polls and even vote.

“We have already received several wheelchair registrations and reservations on the app, and we expect more to come in the coming days,” Khan said. The District Returning Officer will make arrangements based on the registered request.

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Many elderly voters have also chosen to vote absentee, and the EC team began the process of visiting eligible voters on February 16 to verify their eligibility.

Technology also helps track EVMS, voting teams, and the actual voting process.

CCTV cameras will be used for direct webcasting of 2,400 polling stations. The webcast feed will be sent to the district election officer, his CEO office in Imphal, and the Election Commission of India. Voting processes will be videotaped at polling stations located in remote areas without internet connectivity.

As Manipur has several remote and inaccessible areas by road, polling teams carry EVMs, VVPATs and other equipment and leave ‘distribution centers’ at district headquarters two to three days before polling date. .

For example, in Churachandpur city, where voting will be held on February 28, there are 114 polling stations where voting teams leave two days before the polling date, and 114 polling stations where the voting teams leave three days before the polling date. There are 26 locations. A mobile app has been developed to ensure the security of EVMs and voting teams.

Locally developed by NESAC, the E Tracker and E-Atlas apps will be integrated into the phones of poll workers and teams traveling with the EVMS. These are GPS-based apps that track EVMs and ensure that the vehicles used by the team are tracked by the district headquarters and Manipur CEO.

“This will ensure that all equipment and vehicles reach polling stations safely and there will be no claims of fraud or theft of EVMs or VVPATs, especially in remote areas where there are security issues,” Khan said. Stated. The Manipur CEO has also called for additional CAPF companies to strengthen security and will closely monitor the situation using technology.

The ECI-developed Booth app will also be used to track voters in real-time and ensure that all voters are verified by serial number on their EPIC card or voter list.

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