Voters to be photographed in Council elections

Voters to be photographed in Council elections

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Karnataka, is planning to photograph every voter in the upcoming elections to the Legislative Council from the teachers’ and graduates’ constituencies.

The proposal is being considered as an effort to usher in more transparency in the voting system. Karnataka may become the first State to introduce the system of photographing individual voters, if the plan materialises.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, CEO Anil Kumar Jha said, “We are considering photographing every individual voter who enters the polling station. The move will provide more transparency and authentication of the voter.”

The photographing of voters may happen when the individual voter enters the booth and not inside the secret ballot compartment.

He said that a meeting has been convened with the Returning Officers to give a concrete shape to the proposal and implement it on June 20, the polling day.

With the elections being a paper ballot process, on account of the preferential voting system, the EC is also providing heightened security, along with videography.

The CEO’s office has already issued directions that a ‘truncated’ Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will be in place across the 19 districts that go to polls.

The MCC, unlike the blanket restrictions on government schemes in direct elections, will be only for inauguration of new educational institutions or new employment opportunities.

According to the EC, with only teachers and graduates voting in the elections, only schemes which have a direct impact on their livelihood may influence them.

The EC has asked the Education department to freeze the transfers of government teachers in the State till after the elections.

Jha said that at a recent meeting with the department principal secretary, it was conveyed that no teacher can be transferred as it may remove him or her from the voters’ list.

On whether the counselling for teachers seeking transfer may be delayed, Jha said that the voting process may not interfere with it.

But, a second look may be taken at the process if it influences teachers who are registered voters for the elections.

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