60.14% military, police personnel voted electronically

Security personnel queue up outside a polling booth to cast their votes for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections through postal ballot in Bhopal,

New Delhi,  A record 60.14 per cent military and paramilitary personnel and those deployed in Indian missions abroad used the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to vote in the Lok Sabha elections.

The ETPBS is a flagship IT programme of the Election Commission that empowers people eligible to vote but posted far away from their homes to vote electronically.

In the seven-phase general election 2019, a record 18,02,646 eligible personnel were enrolled and 10,84,266 voted through e-postal ballots, an EC statement said.

In contrast, the voting in this category was only 4 per cent in 2014.

Persons working in paramilitary forces and the military and government officials deployed in diplomatic missions outside India are classified as Service Voters.

According to the EC, over eight lakh service more voters were enrolled for the 2019 elections compared to 13,27,627 in 2014.

Of the total, 10,16,245 were from Defence Ministry, 7,82,595 from Home Ministry (Central Armed Police Forces); 3,539 from External Affairs Ministry and 267 from state police.

The EC said the record voting was possible because of ETPBS, which was among one of its kind initiatives adopted by the poll panel this year.

Enabled through the dedicated portal https://www.servicevoter.eci.nic.in online registration, the service voters for the first time were sent postal ballots electronically one way to save processing time, resources and avoid human errors.

“A total of 18,02,646 postal ballots were dispatched electronically using the flagship IT programme ETPBS. In return, 10,84,266 e-postal ballots were received indicating 60.14 per cent turnout,” the EC statement said.

The poll panel said ETPBS was a fully secured system, having two security layers.

“Secrecy of voting is maintained through the use of OTP (One Time Password) and PIN and no duplication of casted ETPB is possible due to the unique QR Code in the portal https://www. etpbs.in.,” the EC said.

The Commission said the purpose of the online system was to create convenient and easy-to-use online system for defence personnel to become Service Voters.

“With the motto ‘no voter to be left behind’, ETPBS has empowered and ensured all eligible service electors with their constitutional power to vote while performing their duty for the nation,” the Commission added.