Centre introduces voting reforms based on EC recommendations

Four reforms are being introduced to strengthen the electoral rolls, make the voting process more inclusive, give more power to the EC, and weed out duplicates

The poll panel does not rule out the possibility of some political parties being formed to avail the benefit of income-tax exemption | File Photo

The Centre is bringing in key amendments to reform the electoral process based on recommendations of the Election Commission (EC).

Four reforms are being introduced to strengthen the electoral rolls, make the voting process more inclusive, give more power to the EC, and weed out duplicates.

Just like PAN-Aadhaar linking, connecting Aadhaar Card with voter ID or electoral card will now be allowed. However, unlike the former, this is being done on a voluntary basis, in accordance with the right to privacy judgment of the Supreme Court and a test of proportionality.

According to the EC, pilot projects conducted so far have been positive, and this step will weed out duplication and strengthen the electoral rolls.

Another proposal is to allow more attempts to register in the electoral rolls. Starting January 1, 18 year olds will have the chance to register four times a year with four cut-off dates. They could do this only once a year till now.

The EC has also decided to make the law gender-neutral for service officers, allowing the husband of service officer to vote as well. Under the existing law, this facility is available only to the wife of a male service voter and is not available to the husband of a woman service voter.

It has also given the EC all the powers required to take over any premises for the conduct of elections. There were some objections to taking over schools and other important institutions during the period of elections.

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