Election Commission asks states to prepare error-free rolls

Election Commission asks states to prepare error-free rolls

Initiating preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission has asked states and Union Territories to prepare error-free electoral rolls, which would serve as the cornerstone of free and fair polls.

The EC has provided detailed instructions in a letter to Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs), saying that all eligible persons must be enrolled and efforts should be made to
ensure that there are no duplicates. It said wrongful deletions of voters from rolls must also be checked.

In view of the fact that the summary revision of electoral rolls, 2014, is going on in most of the states and also in view of the forthcoming general elections to Lok Sabha, the commission has decided to reiterate and issue comprehensive instructions on preparation of electoral rolls.

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said the commission is preparing to hold the elections in multiple phases so that the new Parliament is constituted before the deadline of June 1. Without giving any details of the poll schedule, he hinted that the election process could begin in mid-March.

In its directive, the commission said officials in states must ensure that these instructions are followed in letter and spirit so that electoral rolls are in perfect shape and are completely free from errors.

It also asked the CEOs of various states and Union Territories to "ensure that all entries pertaining to the name, age, surname, address and other details of voters are entered correctly in the electoral rolls for the next general elections".

The CEOs are also asked to ensure that more and more new voters are enrolled through online registration and asked them to put in place such mechanism in their states as early as possible.

The commission directed all high-level officers under it, including principal secretaries, secretaries and under secretaries in charge of zonal sections, to visit states during the course of the ongoing summary revision and submit a report to it.

The commission said it had received complaints from time to time that names of eligible electors are wrongly deleted from the electoral rolls.

"Complaints are also received on poll day that electors having voter identity cards are denied the right to vote because their names were wrongly deleted from the rolls. Such instances should never be allowed to occur," the commission said in its directive.

The commission also instructed relevant officers to prevent creation of new errors and work to avoid duplication. It has also asked officers to work on "de-duplication" across boundaries of states.

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