As many as 40 lakh new voters in the state would be equipped with flashy new plastic voter ID cards with colour photographs by the time of general elections this year. The PVC(plastic) Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is being implemented for the first time in the state following Election Commission of India’s directions. However, it has not been made mandatory for the existing electors to shift to new ID cards.
The driving licence-like hard plastic card, of course more durable, will also have certain security features including a hologram with coded details of the voter, to prevent duplication, tampering and forgery. Nearly 3,50,000 such cards were issued recently during the 4th National Voter’s Day.
“We have ordered e-Seva, Mee Seva centres to procure colour printers to attach photographs and there would be 900 such centres in the next 15 days. Pre-printed cards will be ready in three weeks. So, we will distribute PVC-EPICs from March 1,” state chief electoral officer (CEO) Bhanwar Lal said here on Sunday.
A company called Madras Security Printers would supply the pre-printed smart cards, he said. However, it is not mandatory for those holding the laminated voter identity cards with black and white photographs to shift to the new one. The commission would charge a nominal fee of Rs 25 to convert the present EPIC to new hard plastic cards. “We cannot force them to shift to new cards. We have our own database and that is uniform despite the voter having new or old card. New card is very beautiful though,” said Bhanwar Lal.
As many as 76.26 lakh additions and 33.64 lakh deletions have been made to the electoral list as on February. About 15.06 lakh new voters are in the age group of 18-19. A total of 2,050 polling stations have been added taking the total number of polling stations to 69,014 in the state.
Welcoming the new plastic cards, M Padmanabha Reddy of Forum for Good Governance said, use of latest technology is good and it is easy to handle.