No flimsy material for voter compartment, EC tells Bihar

New Delhi, Sept 27: Seeking to ensure secrecy of votes, the Election Commission has issued a set of dos and don'ts to the Bihar poll machinery, including a directive not to use "flimsy material" for erecting voter compartments in polling booths as it would compromise privacy.

In a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, the EC has cited past experience to say "in spite of specific instructions" while some voting compartments made of cardboards are not of sufficient height, in others cloth used is of "poor quality" and transparent.[ Bihar Election 2015: Special Coverage]


"In some instances, flimsy material like dhoti, lungi, saree, gunny bags have been used to make voting compartment. In such cases, the secrecy of voting could have been compromised," the poll watchdog said recently.

The Commission said the compartment should be made using opaque cardboard of reusable flexiboard with 'voting compartment' and symbol of EC printed on three sides.

The compartment should neither be near a door nor a window as it could mean compromising the secrecy of vote.

It said the table on which the balloting unit is placed in the compartment should be 2.5 feet tall to ensure that voters do not have problem registering their vote.

At the same time, the poll panel said the cable connecting the balloting unit (EVM) and the control unit should be in sight all the time and, in no case, be covered by cloth or any other material so that if it gets disconnected, it is visible to all.

In a bid to ensure that a voter does not tamper the machine with or disconnect the cable, the authorities have been asked to make a hole in the cardboard or flexiboard large enough to keep an eye on the cable. But at the same time the aperture should not be so big that it compromises the voter's secrecy.

Bihar Assembly polls will be held in five phases on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.


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