Election Commission Current Affairs - 2019

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Election Commission announces dates for assembly elections in five states

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the dates for the assembly elections in five states– Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.

With the Election Commission announcement the Model code of conduct has come into effect. Counting of votes for all five states will take place on 11 March 2017.

Key facts
  • There will be single phase elections in Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab.
  • Goa (40 Seats) and Punjab (117 Seats) will go to polls on 4 February 2017 while polling in Uttarakhand for 70 seats will be held on 15 February 2017.
  • Uttar Pradesh: The biggest state in the country will go to polls in seven phases for 403 seats on 11th February, 15th February, 19th February, 23rd February, 27th February, 4th March and on 8th March 2017.
  • Manipur: The northeastern state will go to polls for 60 seats in two phases on 4th and 8th March.
  • Over 16 crore voters are eligible to vote in the five states. The limit for expenses for candidates is Rs 28 lakh for Punjab, Uttarakhand, UP and Rs 20 lakh for Goa and Manipur.
  • ECI will focus on paid news and Press Council of India will help the commission in detection of paid news. It also has launched a large number of IT applications to facilitate voters, candidates, political parties.

 Article 324 of the Constitution: It vests authority of superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for and the conduct of elections to Parliament, State Legislature of every state and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President to the Election Commission.

ECI amends election rules to allow e-transfer of postal ballot

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to facilitate the e-transfer of postal ballot.

The new rules empower a returning officer in any constituency to send postal ballots to an eligible voter by electronic means as specified by the ECI.

In India, postal ballots have played a critical role in extending the electoral process to voters who are unable to exercise their franchise due to either the nature of their job or geographical location of their posting.

How the e-transfer of postal ballot will work?

Under it, the returning officer can send ballot through a web portal with a ‘One Time Password (OTP)’ to voters. The voter needs to download the ballot for voting. The voter after voting will physically return the ballot through post. It should be noted that two-way e-voting has not been recommended by the Election Commission, citing security and secrecy concerns.

What is significance of the new rule?

The e-transfer of postal ballot will replace existing system in which postal ballots were sent through the Department of Posts.  It will ease the logistical issues involved in ensuring that the ballot paper of the constituency, where a voter is eligible to vote, is sent in time. Thus, it will cut time in transmission of the ballot paper and help the EC overcome logistical problems.