PUDUCHERRY: Chief Election Commissioner, V S Sampath, said secrecy cannot be maintained in the online voting system. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the south zone symposium on ‘Best Electoral Practices’, organised by the ECI, here on Friday.
Sampath said the government of India has now extended the voting rights to NRIs and a committee has been formed to examine the feasibility of using online voting and postal ballot for them to register their votes.
Sounding a caution about online voting, he said, it should be approached carefully. “In the present system, each polling booth is sanitised so that the voters can vote in an atmosphere without fear. But it is possible that the voters using the online voting system may be threatened.”
Sampath added that the Election Commission has submitted a proposal to the Union Law Ministry to connect “totaliser” machines to 14 booths through network, to ensure more secrecy and to foil attempts of those who try to learn the voting pattern.
He added that the introduction of the proposal may need amendment to the election law.
When queried about the demand from certain quarters to return to paper ballot, Sampath ruled out its possibility and said such demands were received in all the previous Lok Sabha elections, and normally came from the losing candidate. But the same candidate may not raise it if he wins in the next election, he added.
The CEC also said the election commission has full faith in the electronic voting machines and so far no major complaints, only a few minor ones, have been received.
The symposium has 19 participants, who had made presentations. The participants included the Chief Electoral Officers, Bhanwar Lal (Andhra Pradesh), Praveen Kumar (Tamil Nadu), Nalini Netto (Kerala), B G Jaffer (Karnataka), Rina Roy (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), J Ashok Kumar (Lakshadweep), T Sreekanth (Puducherry) and selected district electoral officers from the southern states.