Internet voting a possibility in future: Brahma

New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Hari Shankar Brahma today said voting by internet could be a possibility in the future and the first step in this direction is the EC’s plan to make electoral rolls “totally error free”.

Chief Election Commissioner Hari Shankar Brahma
Chief Election Commissioner Hari Shankar Brahma

“Voting by internet is the next stage. The first step in the direction was the Election Commission’s ambitious plan to make the electoral rolls totally error free,” the CEC said.

He, however, did not give a time frame for it.

“We need funds, infrastructure and some training. India can do it…,” Brahma said, adding, young voters think that internet voting can save a lot of time, resources, and energy.

“When I was standing in queue to cast vote in the Delhi Assembly polls, five young voters standing in front of me said casting vote takes a few seconds but standing in queue for two hours is a difficult task…,” he told a press conference here.

However, only yesterday, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply that there are no plans to introduce internet voting.

The Election Commission (EC) will launch National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) between March 3 and August 15. As part of the programme, EC will link electoral photo I card with Aadhaar number to ensure there is no duplication.

He said that 10 to 12 per cent entries in electoral roll are duplicate. There are 85 crore electors in the country as per the latest EC data. A city in one southern state has 42 per cent duplicate entries, Brahma added.

The voters will be asked to voluntarily apply for removal of their names from multiple constituencies and such cases will be disposed off within 15 days. If a person deliberately registers as a voter in multiple constituencies, he or she can be punished under provisions of the IPC and election laws, he said.

50 crore voters registered with EC have UIDAI number and the UIDAI has told the poll body that by June, it will further expand its base, he further said.

As UIDAI is voluntary in nature, the names of those not having the Aadhar number will be double checked physically.

Brahma said duplicacy in electoral rolls and flaws have given EC a bad name and there is a case pending against it in Bombay High Court.

“By purifying the rolls, we want to end the chapter of allegations against us for ever,” he said.