Poll panel working to make NRI voting practical: New CEC


New Delhi : The Election Commission is discussing the various “logistical issues” to make voting rights “practical” for non-resident Indians (NRIs), the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S.Y. Quraishi said Friday.

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“We have done some discussions with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and other departments. We are trying to find a way out,” Quraishi told reporters here.

He said various issues like whether the voting would be postal or whether the voter has to be present at the voting counter need to be sorted out. As the government is in favour of voting rights to NRIs, the commission is trying to make it practical, he added.

Quraishi said the poll panel was considering proposals for transforming the voter identity cards into bio-metric ones.

“We have viewed some presentations. We are studying the matter,” he said, noting one proposal was how to utilise the bio-metric data collected by the unique identity card mission for the use of voter identity cards.

Quraishi sought to brush away misgivings about the electronic voting machines (EVMs). The EVMs, which were first used in India in 1982, have undergone periodical tests and innovations, he said.

Regarding the coming Bihar assembly polls, he said the poll panel was proceeding with the work on finalising the schedule and security of the elections. The security situation will be factored in detail before deciding in how many phases the polls should be held, he said.

To queries whether there were plans to conduct the assembly polls in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu earlier than scheduled, Quraishi said: “The commission comes into the picture only six months before the polls are due. That stage has not come in these states.”