EC to send postal ballots through internet

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Hyderabad, Oct 20 (UNI) The Election Commission will send postal ballots electronically to defence force personnel to cut down delay in the process of exercising franchise in the next general elections, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said today.

Interacting with IPS probationers after delivering the 23rd Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel memorial Lecture at the National Police Academy, he pointed out that in most cases, postal ballots sent by defence personnel reach the constituency concerned after the counting of votes is completed.

The postal ballot could not be sent to them before the stage for withdrawal of candidature and preparation of the ballot paper.

Hence, to cut down the delay, the same would be sent electronically, he pointed out.

This would be, perhaps, a precursor to introduction of voting through the internet, which might take a long time to materialise, the CEC said.

He disagreed with the view that voting through internet should be allowed to overcome the problem of poor voter turnout and said, ''this is only laziness personified.'' Each and every citizen should take the trouble of standing in a queue at least once in five years.

Stating that the polling percentage in some north-eastern states was high compared to other states, he said polling had even been extended upto 2000 hrs for all those waiting from 1600 hrs to cast their ballot.

Disagreeing with the view that imposition of President's rule in a state going for polls could enable elimination of misuse of official power by the ruling party, he said this would only give scope to the Centre to ''misuse power''.

He called for a change in mindset among politicians, who fight to the finish using all means at their disposal to win an election.

Only then elections could be conducted without a single police personnel on poll duty as in Australia, he said.

UNI SM VV ARB NS1910

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