Plans afoot for online voting in Kerala for next local body polls

Logo sign of Headquarters of the Election Commission of India (Image Courtesy - Mirko Kuzmanovic/Shutterstock)

Thiruvananthapuram: Casting a vote for your favourite candidate sitting at home is no longer a far-fetched proposition. Though misfired in Gujarat, the State Election Commission (SEC) in Kerala is planning to introduce the online voting facility in Kerala stage by stage.

This will be first experimented in any one of the bypolls coming in the way. Later, it will be implemented in full scale in the local body polls slated for 2025.

The Thiruvananthapuram-based Kerala Digital University and the SEC have already entered into a contract to make online voting a reality.

The reasons for the failure of the experiment in Gujarat will also be studied by the Digital University.

In Gujarat, online voting has been allowed in the local body polls since 2010. But a very few people opted for online voting there. After a lapse of 10 years in 2020, the online system was dropped by Gujarat.

Election rules to be amended
The existing election rules have to be amended in order to permit online voting. A final decision based on the study report to be prepared by the Digital University would be taken after getting the recommendations of the state government and after holding discussions with all stakeholders, including political parties.

"To make online voting possible, reforms should be there at four levels. It includes things that the commission is powered to implement at its free will, those steps which need the government's concurrence, things which are to be implemented after getting the nod of political parties, and finally those which require amendment of rules. The implementation of the online voting can be done in Kerala without much problem since Malayalis are ahead of others in areas like internet access, e-literacy and general awareness about online facilities," State Election Commissioner A Shajahan told Manorama.

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