Karnataka on Friday received the national award for election management, particularly for its success in reaching out to people with disabilities and encouraging them to take part in the democratic exercise.
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the award to Sanjeev Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka, on the occasion of the National Voters' Day in New Delhi.
The office of the CEO Karnataka ran a sustained campaign to encourage people with disabilities to register as voters.
It also set up polling stations run by polling officials with disabilities during the Assembly elections in May and June (byelections) last year. It also ensured that the polling stations had all assured minimum facilities suggested by the Election Commission to make it easier for the people with disabilities, including parking spaces for wheelchairs and other vehicles, signs, help desks, ramps, toilets, drinking water facilities and separate entries and exits.
The EC noted that electoral photo identity cards were distributed on spot to the new voters as well as to the people with disabilities immediately after they registered as voters in some districts of Karnataka.
The poll-panel also acknowledged efforts made by office of the CEO Karnataka resulting in a record turn-out of 72.10% during the Assembly polls.
President on Friday also presented the “Award for Excellence to Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh, Subrat Sahoo, and Chief Electoral Officer of Meghalaya, F R Kharkongor.
The office of the CEO Chhattisgarh was lauded for ensuing accessible, fair and inclusive Assembly polls in the state in November and December last year. It introduced the use of innovative C-TOPPS (Chhattisgarh Tracking of Polling Process software) android application for the election officials, facility of obtaining real-time polling percentage or poll activities data and SoS facility for polling personnel. These efforts helped increase the voting percentage, with several polling stations reporting 90-95% turnout. Voting percentage increased from 75.93% in 2013 to 76.39% in 2018, in areas worst affected by ultra leftist insurgency.
The EC also lauded the efforts of the office of the CEO Meghalaya for sustained campaign for people's participation in elections.