Civil Society Impact: Green Light to E-Voting by Senior Citizens

Civil societies play a role in sparking a change for the better in society. This has been proven once again by the announcement made on Tuesday Sep 30, 2020 by the State Election Commissioner  C. Parthasarathi that the Commission is contemplating provision of e-voting for senior citizens, disabled and election staff during the coming GHMC elections in view of the Covid -19 pandemic.

This announcement is consequent to the meeting of the 'Ennikala Nigah Vedika' (Telangana Election Watch Wing) of SCOTRWA. The team met with the SEC on Sep 28, 2020 with a representation on behalf of all the senior citizen associations (more than 200) in the State. Presenting their case, the members explained that close to 10 lakh eligible voters are senior citizens and at risk to infections. That apart, e-voting facility will serve to increase the participation of urban seniors and compensate for the present ‘deficit in democracy' since the vote can be cast at a convenient time and place. As is well known, polling percentage in some urban areas comes down to as low as 35%. The principle of secrecy in voting will not be violated, as far as the urban senior citizens are concerned during electronic voting.

Other advantages:

  • ·         Being home-bound senior citizens cannot be influenced easily and this reduces the scope of malpractices a day before elections by political parties.
  • ·         It will reduce the burden of work on election day i.e. voting by all in one day at one go; irrespective of the weather conditions.
  • ·         This experience will serve as a rehearsal for digital voting for general public in future.

It is heartening to note that a timely and positive response has come from lawmakers to the civil society representation. The reply to the SCOTRWA representation in just two days is a noteworthy achievement and should serve as an inspiration and encouragement to all civil societies to take up matters of concern with authorities.

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