From Lok Sabha elections to the Assembly elections 2014, we witnessed some ground breaking results. There was a huge change in the political landscape of the Indian political scene. The new government was elected by a total majority of voters. Narendra Modi took the oath as the new Prime Minister preceded by the huge expectations from the electors. Keeping aside all the political turbulence or the successes, there was a support system that stayed strong and worked day night to ensure that the interest of the voters were protected and the campaigning was fair throughout. This support system is known as the Election Commission of India.
So in this article, we provide to you with the statistics and details about the tasks that were at disposal of the ECI, in the year 2014 which is about to complete and make way for a new year in a couple of weeks. Also, we shall see what is in store for the Election Commission in the coming year 2015. So, let us see how did it perform in terms of legitimacy of voting, accuracy of results, fair campaigning and related activities during the elections that took place in the past couple of months.
Let us see the important components managed by the Election Commission of India, that have helped it achieve smooth functioning of elections not only in 2014, but throughout the time since their inception.
The Election Commission of India and the Electronic Voting Machine
The Indian electronic voting machine is one of the most advanced technological innovations by the election commission of India. This device has been the commission’s accomplice in achieving its dream of legitimate and fair voting. The EVM helps the officials to rule out the possibility of problems like ballot tampering and also bogus voting to some extent. The machines also reduce the amount of labor and time spent by the officials to carry out logistic operations. In the absence of the EVMs, the officials had to face hassles related to carrying heavy ballot boxes from the polling stations to the counting headquarters. In that sense the Election Commission of India has not only hastened the vote counting process but also provided immense convenience for the poll officials. In 2014 too, the success of the largest ever Lok Sabha elections may not have been possible without such an advanced vote casting mechanism in the form of the Electronic voting machines.
History of the Election Commission of India EVM
Commissioned in the year 1989, the Electronic voting machine was a part of the Election Commission of India’s endeavor to implement electronic voting in India. Such machines reduce time in terms of both, the vote casting and the result declaration process. In other words, the ECI knew the importance of the EVMs in catalyzing the electoral process of India.
The first use of the electronic voting machine dates back to 1998 in the Bye-election to the North Paravur assembly constituency in Kerala. The EVM was used only in a limited number of polling stations to the tune of 50. Since then, there is no looking back. The implementation of electronic voting through these machines was done in part since the 1999 state and general elections and in totality since the 2004 elections,
For this project, the election commission of India collaborated with Hyderabad’s ECIL (Electronics Corporation of India ltd.). The product design of the EVM was done by two faculty members of the industrial design center of IIT Bombay, namely, Professor AG Rao and Professor Ravi Poovaiah.
How to Cast a Vote Through an EVM?
Casting a vote through EVM has revolutionized the way the elections are conducted. The election commission of India issues voter id cards to all the registered voters. All the registered voters also have their names in the photo voter lists which are published for each of the constituencies. These lists are revised every election season, so that the updated lists consider all the valid additions and deletions. These voters’ lists are handled by the polling officers assigned to the respective constituency.
On the day of voting, a voter could take his voter card to the prescribed polling station. The polling officer would verify the voter details and match them with the details in the voters’ list of that constituency. Once the voter’s identity is verified, he/she is allowed an entry to the polling booth (after his/her signatures are taken). There the voter is then escorted to a concealed area where the EVM is kept. The machine has the names of all the candidates contesting the election from the voter’s constituency. The candidates’ partys’ symbols are also given next to their name on the machines. Hence, the voter could carefully find the name of the candidate or the party he/she wants to vote for and simply press the blue button next to the name. But the vote can only be cast once the polling officer presses the ballot button on the control unit that he/she is given the charge of.
This means that there are two units of the Election Commission of India EVM, one is the ballot unit (for the voter) and the other is the control unit (with the polling officer). Once the concerned polling officer presses the ballot button on his unit, only then the voter could press the blue button on the EVM to cast his vote. Once this is done, the machine automatically registers the vote and makes an appropriate sound to signal that the vote has been cast. On his way to the exit door, the voter is then given an ink mark on the fore finger. This is done to control the illegal act of casting multiple votes by the same voter. The EVM hence registers the votes of all the voters on the election day
International Acclaim for the EVM in 2014
Recently, the commission won the appreciation of the Members of Parliament of Bangladesh, who recently paid a visit to ECI. Led by Muhammad Faruk Khan, it was a delegation of 10 members. These members met two distinguished election commissioners, Sh. H.S. Brahma and Dr. Nasim Zaidi. The members were briefed about the Election System in India and their queries were also addressed. There was emphasis on the need for the incorporation of technology in the elections. The role of technology was seen as a game changer as well as a facilitator in meeting in a lot of major challenges. The long drawn ambition of ECI relating to an increased voter enrollment and turnout was also discussed. The visit and the learning of the impressed MPs does show the sterling reputation and success of our election commission.
The Election commission of India was published a press release about this productive visit, on its website. You can access it here: – http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/current/PN60_24112014.pdf
The Great Indian Voter ID Card
The success of the Indian elections and the commission in ensuring huge voter enrolment and turnout could also be attributed to the photo voters’ list and the Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC) more commonly known as the Voter ID Card in India. The election commission of India launched the photo Voter ID Card in the year 1993. By the 2004 General elections, it was mandatory for the voters to possess their voter id cards.
The introduction of the photo voter id card was a landmark step towards curbing the ill practice of bogus voting during the elections. Hence, the voters and the honest candidates have indeed benefited from it.
In 2014 too, since it was the year where the largest ever Indian general elections took place along with the assembly elections in certain states, the Voter ID Card played a major role in controlling the electoral problems like bogus voting. Nevertheless, this was also the year where we saw an increasing role of alternatives to the voter id card. Various provisions were announced that underlined a list of alternative documents that could be used by voters to prove their identity to the polling officers and be able to cast their votes. The alternative documents included the voter slip, driving license, etc.
How to get the Election Commission of India Voter ID Card?
The importance of an EPIC or voter id card as we call it, is immense. Although, near election time, the Election Commission announces various provisions where carrying a Voter ID Card to the polling stations was not mandatory. The voter slips were issued to all the voters and these slips were supposed to be used as well accepted alternatives to the voter id cards.
Nevertheless, the EPIC is still considered a very important document which all responsible citizens over the age of 18 years must possess. Head over to our section on Voter ID Card for all the news, information and help related to Voter ID Card here. Also here is how you can apply for an Election Commission of India Voter ID Card.
Offline Voter Registration
- Visit the Electoral Registration Office of your constituency.
- Ask for the election commission of India Form No. 6 for inclusion of name to the voter list.
- Fill in all the required details.
- Paste/provide 2 passport size photographs.
- Attach the required identity, address and age proof documents.
- Submit the form in person or through speed post (addressed to the ERO of your area).
Online Voter Registration
- Visit the Election Commission of India official website i.e www.eci.nic.in or your state’s CEO (Chief electoral officer) website.
- Click on ‘Enroll Now’.
- Register on the website (if mandatory).
- Fill the presented online version of the ECI Form No. 6 by providing all the required details.
- Upload your photograph in .JPEG format and not greater than 35KB in size.
- Upload your documents in .PDF format (if mandatory). Otherwise, move on to the next step.
- Click ‘Translate’, this would translate your important details into your local language. The same would appear on your Voter ID Card.
- Click ‘Submit’ if all the mandatory fields are filled and the photograph has been uploaded.
- Note down the unique application id.
NOTE: Generally, it is not mandatory to upload the required proof documents while applying for Voter ID Card online. The same documents could be presented to the Booth Level Officer when he pays a verification visit to your provided residence address.
Alternatively, you can also download the form no. 6 from this link: http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/forms/FORM6.pdf . You could then take out the printed version of the downloaded form. This printed form could then be filled in a similar way (as mentioned above) and then sent to the designated ERO of your constituency. Hence, these are some of the ways in which you can apply for inclusion of name to the voters’ list of your constituency and the Election Commission of India identity card.
You can refer the following post in order to know complete details about filling the form no. 6 for inclusion of name: A Comprehensive Step by Step guide about filling Voter Registration Form No. 6
Role of the Election Commission of India Identity Card in Lok Sabha Elections 2014
The Lok Sabha elections of 2014 witnessed largest ever voter turnouts, not only that, the whole scale at which the elections were held was tremendous and never seen before. With such huge elections at hand, there was little scope for the Election Commission of India to make mistakes. Moreover, if the innovations like the electronic voting machine, photo voter identity card and photo voter lists were not in place then it would have been a lot more difficult for the commission to handle such a large scale general election. Hence, the investments made by the ECI in the past, in terms of time, money as well as labor, have really helped it in the present to minimize the problems that would have otherwise occurred during the modern day Indian elections.
The importance of the ECI identity card (Voter ID Card) lies in the fact that these cards really inhibit the scope of bogus and illegitimate voting during the elections. Because, each Voter ID Card has the photograph of the voter itself, it is somewhat difficult for the bogus voter to vote in place of the actual voter without getting caught by the poll officials.
Nevertheless, the problem of bogus voting is still far from eliminated. There are still a massive number of cases involving this malpractice. And the election commission alone could not be successful in uprooting this problem. We, the voters, have to co-operate and do our duty too. What can the voters do from their end, in order to control bogus voting? Here is the list of precautions that the voters can adopt in order to help the election commission to control bogus voting:
- Make sure you attach/upload a crisp and clear photograph of yours while applying for voter registration through Form No. 6
- This photograph would then appear on your Voter ID Card, hence, it is important that your face is recognizable in the photograph.
- Make sure that your Voter ID Card is stored in a secured place to avoid theft.
- In case there are mistakes on your voter id card, you must report it to the ERO and fill Form No. 8 for the corrections.
- In case you have lost or mistakenly damaged your identity card, make sure you file a FIR and apply for duplicate voter id, as soon as possible.
- Also make sure that you do not fall into the schemes of corrupt politicians who may offer you cash or kind in order to lure you into voting for them. Voting for cash or kind is another problem in our electoral system and it must be taken care of.
Hence, voter participation is as important as the ECI’s efforts if we want completely free and fair elections.
Elections Conducted by the Election Commission of India in 2014
Apart from various by elections, the Election commission of India conducted some of the major elections in 2014. The list includes Lok Sabha elections 2014 and assembly elections for Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir.
Indian General Election 2014
The Indian General Election or the elections to the Lok Sabha 2014 were indeed landmark elections for India. Not only did they witness largest ever voter turnout since 1984, they also completely changed the political landscape of our nation. The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) stormed to power by emerging as the single largest political party surpassing the majority mark by itself. Mr. Narendra Modi was announced as the new Prime Minister. Congress (the erstwhile ruling party) however performed dismally in terms of the number of seats. The voters of India indeed voted for change and that is what they received post the result announcement. The election commission must be applauded for successfully concluding with all the election formalities without defaulting on any of the deadlines.
Haryana Assembly Elections 2014
The counting for the Haryana assembly elections 2014 concluded on 19th October 2014. In this state too, BJP scored full majority with 47 seats. Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar was announced the new Chief Minister of Haryana.
Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2014
The counting for these elections also concluded on the 19th of October 2014. BJP again emerged out as the single largest party. However, the party fell short of the majority mark. Nevertheless, BJP is running a minority government in Maharashtra with Mr. Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister.
Jharkhand and J&K Assembly Elections 2014
The date on counting of votes for Jharkhand assembly elections is supposed to be completed, as announced by the Election Commission of India, is 23rd December 2014. The voting for the final phase(out of the announced 5 phases) concludes on 20th December 2014. Meanwhile you can check out the complete voting guide for Jharkhand Assembly Elections 2014
The schedule for General elections to the state assembly in Jammu & Kashmir is more or less the same. These elections are also taking place in 5 phases with the date of poll for the final phase being 20th December 2014. The counting of votes also takes place on 23rd December 2014.
Election Commission of India 2015
What are the tasks at hand for the ECI in 2015? With the new year, the very first thing that may occupy the ECI’s to-do list is organizing the National Voters’ Day 2015.
National Voters’ Day
This year the Election Commission of India is going to organize the 5th ever National Voters’ Day. This is an important function held on the 25th of January every year, where the commission suggests and instructs participation of all the poll officials and voters alike. As per the convention, the new voters are facilitated on this day, by being presented their Voter ID Cards. Also, they are given badges carrying the ECI logo and the slogan “Proud to be a voter – Ready to vote“.
In essence, this day captures the essence of the ambition of the voters and officials to ensure proper functioning of the democracy and the electoral process. Special boxes are also to be placed at polling booths and other public places. Voters can submit the various forms like Form No. 6, 7, 8 etc. in these specially placed boxes.
The national function is going to be held in New Delhi like every year. This year the Honorable President of India is going to grace the event. The theme of the last year’s National Voters’ Day was ‘ethical voting’. The theme for this year has not yet been disclosed but would soon be announced by the ECI. The focus of this NVD would be as following: –
- Enrolment of all eligible citizens who wish to become voters.
- Encouraging surrender of duplicate registrations by the voters. Each voter should only be registered in one constituency.
- Elimination of errors in voters’ details.
- No ghost electors.
- Election commission of India identity cards (voter id cards) to all voters.
- Frequently updated voters’ lists for increased accuracy.
Hence, all the citizens must take advantage of such a special day for the democracy and ensure that they are perfectly ready as voters. So when the elections approach, they can head to the polling station with pride and exercise their precious franchise to vote and make their opinion count.
Soon after the National voters’ day, the ECI has to take care of the Delhi assembly re-elections 2015.
Delhi Assembly Re-elections 2015
If there is a word called political stability then Delhi surely has had no luck experiencing it, at least since a year ago. After record breaking 3 terms for Congress’ Mrs. Shiela Dixit as the Chief Minister of Delhi, the national capital is now being governed by the Lieutenant Governor under the President’s rule. All this comes after a 49 Day run by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP government (externally backed by the Congress party).
Nevertheless, Delhi Assembly re-elections have been announced by the Election Commission of India. They would most probably take place in the month of February 2015. So, all eyes are on this month for the aspirations of the citizens of Delhi to finally be led by a stable government.
How to Apply for Voter ID Card in Delhi?
Since there is some time for the Delhi Assembly Re-elections to start, you can still apply for new voter registration if not already registered and hence, get your Election Commission of India identity card. To become a registered voter in Delhi, you need to get enrolled into the voters’ list of your constituency. To do that, you have to fill the Form no. 6 as mentioned previously in this article. You can visit the CEO Delhi website, www.ceodelhi.gov.in and register yourself in order to fill this form online. Here are the steps to enroll online: –
- Visit the CEO Delhi website.
- Click on ‘Enroll Online’.
- The landing page would ask you to enter ‘username’ and ‘password’.
- If you are not already registered, click this link to register yourself on the website: – http://ceodelhi.gov.in/OnlineErms/CreateUser.aspx
- Enter the required information and click on ‘Create User’.
- Once successfully registered, you can use the created username and password to access and fill the online version of Form No. 6 (After completing the steps 1, 2 and 3).
Once the form is successfully filled, you can expect the BLO to visit your residence and verify your identity. In case you were not able to upload your identity proof documents while filling the online application, you can hand over these documents to the BLO upon his visit. After all the verification formalities are over, you can expect your name to be included in the Delhi voter list, within a time-frame of 30-45 days.
[IMPORTANT] Please note, according to a notification by the CEO Delhi, the applications/forms received after 10th November 2014 shall only be considered or disposed off after the final publication of the voters’ list on 5th January 2015 and hence would reflect in the supplementary electoral roll published before the elections/polls are conducted in Delhi. So the new voters are advised to plan their registration accordingly.
The ECI and CEO Delhi try to ensure that the voters face minimal number of problems while proceeding with the formalities relating to the Voter ID Card and voters’ list registration. For this, they make available the contact details of all the concerned officials who can help you with your queries. The citizens on Delhi can access the contact details of the officers handling electoral roll and Voter ID Card related matters by visiting this link: http://ceodelhi.gov.in/ContactDetailsGELS2014.html
So this concludes with our brief review of some of the most important activities and elections carried out by the ECI. We also included some of the important tasks and elections that are in store for the new year that is 2015. So let us hope, the coming year also brings a lot of achievements for the ECI and the democracy alike.