EPIC will be Compulsory for Voting in Polls, Says Nalini Netto - The New Indian Express

EPIC will be Compulsory for Voting in Polls, Says Nalini Netto

Published: 05th April 2014 09:43 AM

Last Updated: 05th April 2014 11:21 AM

Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) will be compulsory for voting in the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto said here on Friday.

The Election Commission has decided to make EPIC compulsory as it has been distributed to all voters in the state. If a voter fails to produce EPIC, he or she will have to file an affidavit before the presiding officer of the polling station citing the reason why the card could not be produced.

Such voters can cast their votes on  production of alternative identification documents approved by the Election Commission, including the voter slips issued by the Booth-Level Officer concerned. The approved identification documents include passport, driver’s licence, PAN card, Aadhaar card, MGNREGA job card, health card and pension card. Photo-identity cards issued by the government, Public Sector Undertakings and recognised banks can also be used as proof of identity for voting, Netto said.

Polling time has been extended by two hours for the upcoming election. As against 8 am to 5 pm, polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm this time, the Chief Electoral Officer said.

The polling will be wound up only after ensuring that the last person in queue at 6 pm has cast his or her vote. The Election Commission has made arrangements to ensure that basic minimum facilities are available at all polling stations.

The space of each polling station will be at least 20 square metres and it will have facilities such as electricity, drinking water, furniture, toilets, waiting area for voters and also temporary ramps for the physically-disabled.

The Commission has also directed officials to ensure that wheelchair facility is provided for the elderly and physically-disabled persons. Road shows, traditional art forms, radio jingles and short films will be used to create awareness among voters, the Chief Electoral Officer said.

10 per cent Increase in Number of Voters

The total number of voters in the state has increased by 10 per cent when compared to 2009.

While there were 2.18 crore voters in the state in 2009, it has gone up to 2.43 crore this time. Out of the total number of voters, those in the age group of 20 to 60 is 2.01 crore. Around 5.56 lakh people in the 18-19 age group are expected to vote this time. While the number of male voters is 1.16 crore, there are 1.25 crore women voters, the Chief Electoral Officer said.

A total of 269 candidates - 242 men and 27 women - are in the fray in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies across the state.

In Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Pathanamthitta and Idukkiconstituencies, where the total number of candidates is more than 15, two Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been providedin each polling booth since an EVM has space only for 15 candidates and a NOTA option. Around 1.5 lakh officials will be engaged in polling duty and adequate training has been given to them, Netto said.  A total of 45 companies of security forces from outside the state have been deployed and 10 more companies are expected to be deployed in the coming days.

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