The defence personnel posted away from their homes will for the first time in the country be able to cast their votes through electronic ballot -- a one-way electronic transmission -- in the upcoming state assembly polls, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.
"We have decided to allow the defence personnel and central para-military forces personnel to cast their votes through one-way electronic transmission system," Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters here while announcing the dates for the assembly polls in five states in 2017.
However, the EC clarified that voting through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot (ETPBS) "will be implemented in a few classified assembly constituencies on a pilot and trial basis" in the five poll-going states.
Zaidi said voting through ETPBS was successfully run in November, 2016 on a pilot basis in the bye-elections in Punducherry.
The assembly constituencies where ETPBS will be implemented "shall be selected on certain criteria based on logistics, connectivity and operational requirements", the EC said in a statement
In its press release in November, 2016, the ECI had said ETPBS was one of the means to conduct all-inclusive elections and "No voter to be left behind" is the slogan of the ECI. T
To realise this vision, ECI is leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for free, fair, peaceful, transparent and more efficient Election operations.
The ECI had said that the paper ballots which were used previously, was proving to be time-consuming at times and were causing delay.
Keeping this limitation in mind, the ECI entrusted Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), a government undertaking working under the aegis of MeitY, Government of India to undertake development of one-way postal ballot delivery through electronic medium system.
C-DAC developed the "Electronic Transmitted Postal Ballot‚ÄĚ delivery system, wherein, the service voters will be receiving the downloadable postal ballot through two-layer secure electronic medium i.e. secured ‚ÄėOne Time Password (OTP)‚Äô for downloading the encrypted files sent through mobile/e-mail and the system generated unique ‚ÄúPersonal Identification Number" (PIN) for decrypting and printing each and every single postal ballot to the individual service voter/ authorized person.
The votes so cast would be received by the returning officer through post.