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  1. 41 downloads

    "The Journal consists of the goodwill messages from the Heads of Election Management Bodies and highlights the research papers, articles, book reviews, etc. from eminent writers and experts and also includes peer reviewed contributions from across the democracies of the world in the area of Elections and Electoral Democracy. The A-WEB India Journal of Elections (AWI-JoE) is a copyrighted material. Therefore, prior permission of the publisher i.e. the Election Commission of India shall be required before reproduction, distribution or transmission of any content of the Journal in any form or by any means except in the case of references and brief quotations embodied in the reviews. "
  2. 7 downloads

    This issue of Voice international brings to you a very rich experience from different countries such as Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Fiji, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Moldova and other countries. Features Argentina Electoral Challenges in the times of Pandemic Belarus Belarus holds Elections during the Pandemic Bosnia and Herzegovina Strategies for Managing Elections amidst Pandemic Croatia Elections in the times of Pandemic Croatian Experience Fiji Managing Elections amidst Pandemic: Fijian Experience India Redefining Election Management amidst Pandemic: Indian Experience Lesotho Strategies for Managing Elections in Pandemic Malawi Malawi goes for Presidential Elections amidst Pandemic Moldova Training of Electoral Officials in Moldova amidst Pandemic International IDEA Chronological Analysis of COVID-19 on Elections IFES Preserving Electoral Integrity during an Infodemic Inclusion & Meaningful Participation amidst COVID-19 Legal Considerations when Delaying or Adapting Elections Election Considerations in Pacific during an Infodemic Safeguarding Health Elections amidst COVID-19 Global Perspective International Experiences in Conducting Elections during COVID-19 Insights Risk Mitigation measures for National Elections during COVID-19 Communication Guidelines for EMBs during COVID-19 Co-operation with Civil Society during the Pandemic Lessons from Elections during COVID-19: Republic of Poland Endeavours Educating Youth via Winter School in Georgia NEC shares Election Disinfection Experience with Kyrgyz Republic Malawi holds BRIDGE Course for New Commissioners IIIDEM conducts training amidst the ‘new normal’ in Pandemic Webinars Sharing Experienes on Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 Poll Station Management during a Pandemic How can EMBs Manage Turnout during a Pandemic? Strategies for International and Domestic Election Observation in Asia during COVID-19 Global Election Updates International IDEA’s Global Monitor tracks impact of COVID-19 Guidelines for Electoral Activities during COVID-19 Parliamentary Elections held in Kyrgyz Republic Dominican Republic conducts Extraordinary General Elections Mongolia Conducts Parliamentary Elections ECI hosts International Election Visitors Programme Cambodia launches online name search service for voters Rapid response protects Serbian Voters in National Elections Publications VoICE International launches Volume IV Issue I Report on COVID-19 & Democracy Calls for urgent measures My Vote Matters Vol II Issue 1 released Indigenous Peoples’ Rights In Constitutions Assessment Tool Maintaining Safety and Trust in Elections during the Pandemic IDEA-Parliaments and Crisis: Challenges and Innovations Political Parties during Lockdown and Social Distancing Glossary & Quiz
  3. 159 downloads

    The date for receipt of research papers with abstracts, Articles, Book Reviews etc. for Issue - 2 of the Journal AWI- JOE is 30th June 2021. A-WEB India Journal of Elections (AWI-JOE) is a journal, independent in nature, whose policy is set by its Editorial Board in consultation with its Advisory Board. AWI-JOE is envisaged to be a journal of the highest international standards and includes peer reviewed contributions from Members of the A-WEB community, Partner Organisations and beyond. AWI-JOE will essentially publish three types of Papers: Research Papers, Articles and Book Reviews. When submitting a contribution to the AWI-JOE, authors are requested to indicate the category in which their manuscript falls. Research Papers should generally be between 4,000 and 10,000 words in length. Research Papers above 10,000 words will be considered only in exceptional circumstances. Articles should be up to 4,000 words in the form of highly accessible papers with a view to present major ideas concisely and succinctly. Some issues of the Journal may also contain 5,000 to 12,000 words Review Article – either in the form of a detailed discussion of a single book or as a review of some specific area of a discipline. The Journal will also publish Opinions, Book Reviews Comments in response to AWI-JOE Research Papers or Articles and Notes on topics of current or contemporary interest. While the length of such contribution in the form of ‘Opinions’, ‘Book Reviews’ may go up to 4000 words, the Comments should be limited to not more than 1000 words.
  4. 0 downloads

    Conduct of Elections in India International Election Visitors Programme 2021 Perspectives by Umesh Sinha, Secretary General, ECI Mona Sreenivas, Director, ECI
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    Election Commission of India INDIA INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DEMOCRACY AND ELECTION MANAGEMENT
  6. 0 downloads

    Bihar Assembly Election 2020 -CEO, Bihar Office of Chief Election Officer, Bihar
  7. 0 downloads

    Election Commission of India IEVP 2021 ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE (EVM) & VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (VVPAT)
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    IT APPS HELPING MANAGING ELECTIONS IN THE LARGEST DEMOCRACY
  9. 4 downloads

    INTERNATIONAL ELECTION VISITORS PROGRAMME 2021 For Assam, Kerala, Puducherry,Tamil Nadu and West Bengal Lagislative Assembly Elections 5th-6th April 2021 Making our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe & Informed Venue : Sovereign Hall-2 Hotel Le Meridien, Windsor Place, New Delhi
  10. ECI

    International Election Visitors Programme 2021

    International Election Visitors Programme 2021 5th - 6th April 2021
  11. 13 downloads

    Webinar on ‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences’ On completion of one year of Chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted an International Webinar on the Theme ‘‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country Experiences’ through its India A-WEB Centre on 21st September, 2020 at New Delhi. It was an occasion for democracies world over to come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid19. It may be recalled that India had taken over as Chair of A-WEB for 2019-2021 term during the 4th General Assembly of A-WEB held at Bengaluru on 03 Sep 2019. On this occasion, India A-WEB Centre’s publications namely ‘A Ready Reckoner: Brief Profiles of Countries, Election Management Bodies and Partner Organizations of A-WEB’ and ‘International Experiences of Conducting Elections During COVID-19’ were released besides release of the ‘Brochure’ for launch of ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’. Mr. Umesh Sinha, Secretary General, ECI welcomed the guests and gave a brief overview of the activities of A-WEB India Centre since its inception. Inaugurating the Webinar, Chief Election Commissioner of India and Chairperson, A-WEB Mr Sunil Arora spoke of the "tough predicament" faced by Election Management Bodies across the world - whether and how to hold scheduled elections in a state of public health emergency. He said the contextual framework of every country was different, the extent and trajectory of the disease varied and so did the capacity of each country to respond to the novel corona virus and its catastrophic impact. He mentioned countries such as South Korea, Australia, Malawi, Taiwan, Mongolia and many others who went ahead with scheduled elections even as they put in place the enormous arrangements required to ensure the health and safety of people while conducting elections. Mr Arora mentioned that Elections in India pose formidable challenges on account of large electorate, geographical and linguistic diversity and differing climatic conditions. Explaining in detail the scale of the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar, he mentioned that the total number of electors was 72.9 million. Explaining the impact of Covid-19 on the election, Mr Arora highlighted how Covid-19 exigencies and social distancing measures necessitated a revisit of ECI's extant instructions. The maximum number of electors at a polling station was reduced from 1500 to 1000, and consequently, the number of polling stations jumped by 40 per cent, from 65,000 to over 100,000. These changes had huge logistics and manpower implications. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) also mentioned that ECI has placed a lot of emphasis on extending facilitation to senior citizens, women, Persons with disabilities and in current circumstances, ensuring franchise to COVID-19 positive voters and those in quarantine. In this context, the CEC mentioned how, beginning with the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand in November-December 2019, and elections to the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in February 2020, the postal ballot facility was extended to voters who were aged more than 80 years, persons with disabilities and those engaged in specified essential services. This facility of postal ballot was also extended to COVID-19 positive electors who were in quarantine/hospitalized. Mr Arora mentioned the specific and detailed guidelines that have been drawn up for conducting election during the time of COVID-19. He also mentioned the successful conduct of elections to 18 seats of the Rajya Sabha in the month of June, 2020. He informed that assembly elections are due in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu in the first half of the year 2021. Mentioning the two publications released during the Webinar viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’ and ‘International Experiences of Conducting Elections during COVID-19’, he said these would be a useful tool for researchers and practitioners alike. He said that A-WEB India Centre has also progressed considerably towards publishing a world class journal called “A-WEB India Journal of Elections’. The first issue of this journal will be released in March 2021. He hoped that A-WEB India emerges as the ‘nervecentre’ for intellectual and other activities and, requested all other members to contribute and participate. Session I The Session started with opening remarks by Mr K M Nurul Huda, CEC, Bangladesh who focussed on ‘fightback’ by the EMBs with whatever resources available. He said that this Webinar was an effort of imparting success story on courage and determinations of EMBs who had not compromised elections with the threat of COVID-19 pandemic. It would also provide an opportunity to know which EMBs have taken what precautions and under what circumstances. It would benefit all EMBs under the banner of A-Web and to share as how others have encountered corona while undertaking health protective measures and then managed elections. Mr Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioner, India shared with the audience the special measures taken by ECI to ensure conduct of elections under COVID- 19 challenge; he emphasized on the need for coordination with all stakeholders including political parties; effective communication with voters to convince & to ensure that the”Polling Booths are safe”; & the need for comprehensive new protocols designed to synchronize with Health Guidelines. Ms A Senimoli, Director Operations, Fiji Elections Office, spoke on advance planning for General Elections 2022 with COVID Safety protocols. The strategies include to promote alternative ways of voting to reduce person to person contact; having bigger & larger venues for better ventilation and allow for physical distancing; changes to SOPs and set up in polling stations (1.5m physical distancing); instructional posters on safety and hygiene protocols to be affixed outside polling stations and special voting procedures for assisted voting (voters with disabilities). Mr Seung Ryeol Kim Advisor, A-WEB Secretariat, spoke about the initiatives taken by A-WEB Sectt. to facilitate sharing of experiences and expertise in the form of webinars to support A-WEB members in tackling the challenges from the pandemic. These webinars dealt with urgent issues and key considerations with regard to election management in the pandemic situation. In addition to the three webinars, the A-WEB Secretariat has also participated in a number of webinars organised by its members or partners, sharing its insights into election management and COVID-19 as well as encouraging its members to join and benefit from the events. Mr Antonio Spinelli Senior Advisor, International IDEA spoke on special voting arrangements and managing elections during the pandemic. He mentioned the “theoretical, analytical“ framework by which all EMBs could “situate our individual effort in comparison to worldwide practices.” He categorized the ongoing efforts of EMBs into 3 parallel dimensions for the COVID-19 threat i.e. Physical, Spatial and Temporal. He stated that the Voting methodology has been static and, it generally, is not accounting for mobility of people & absentee voters – whose worldwide number was overwhelming. The paper circulated was “evaluative” of ongoing efforts by various EMB’s and it presented the members with a “Global Monitor”- to judge impact of COVID Democracy & Human Rights and an excellent snapshot of facts of conducted/ postponed elections & degree of variation in approaches initiated by various EMB’s. The Paper’s core point perhaps was that Emergency such as the global crisis stemming from the COVID- 19 pandemic, are decisive facts that may reveal the health of any democracy. Ms Kin Su-yeon, Professor, KCEID, National Election Commission (NEC) of Republic of Korea spoke on the Election Management in response to COVID-19 and the 21st National Assembly Elections held in April 2020 in the Republic of Korea. She shared the experience of the National Election Commission of the ROK that enabled it to hold elections without changing the laws. It made full use of its existing systems such as the early voting system to minimise congestion in polling stations on the voting day as well as the fixed voting hours giving the quarantined voters the last minutes to vote. She mentioned that NEC provided an environment where voters felt safe while coming to vote during the elections. Dr Chih-Cheng Meng, Commissioner, CEC Taiwan spoke of Taiwan’s successful experiences in conducting elections during COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan has had more than 40 local by-elections and recalls since February 2020. Through the formulation and implementation of the prevention measures, the election authorities have worked closely with the central and local governments to establish a safe and comprehensive epidemic prevention network. Election officials are highly alert and strictly implement epidemic prevention measures to provide a safe voting environment for every voter. Mr P Delgernaran, Chairperson, GEC Mongolia spoke on conduct of Parliamentary Elections in Mongolia with well defined safety protocols and sharing of experiences by each of the speakers The presentation walked all the participants through the Mongolian experience of conduct of the Parliamentary election in June, 2020 within the mandate of the “Regulation” on Corona of May 2020. It acknowledged its prior study of global experiences including Korea. Due to the measures taken, it ensured a 73.6% voter turnout with no adverse health impact being reflected. Mr. Sushil Chandra, EC India summarized various presentations as adding the new dimensions of “safe” to the otherwise known formulation of ‘Free & Fair Elections’. He noted that the sessions were well structured and the presentations provided an analysis of factors, threats, challenges and the possible solutions for conduct of elections. Mr Nurul Huda, CEC, Bangladesh mentioned that Corona virus has brought about rigorous changes in our daily life, conduct of elections as well as the future strategy for elections. Session II In his opening remarks Mr. Rajiv Kumar, EC India quoting Mahatma Gandhi, characterized the challenge as to ensure that the under-privileged have the same opportunity as the elite. He suggested an additional test to “focus on polling percentage in respect of the vulnerable sections”. Containment measures by governments have and are having “constitutional and technology implications for timing and conduct of elections.” He briefed the Conference on the Rajya Sabha elections conducted by ECI in June 2020. Mentioning the forthcoming elections of Bihar, he highlighted the framework of SOPs – steps/ guidelines being worked upon by India and placing them in the context of other shared experiences. In context of high expectations of service by EMBs, the “Shared experience” was crucial – he offered to share further experience of India, post Bihar elections. Mr Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa and Vice Chairperson of A-WEB thanked the Chief Election Commissioner of India for organizing the Webinar on a subject that has affected practically all aspects of our lives. Sharing his experience on the impact of COVID-19 on Democracy and Electoral Cycle he summed up the COVID 19 challenge as “it is safe to say that the only certainty in the world at the moment is uncertainty”. He said that its short term impacts relate to postponement of elections but the defining characteristic of any democracy is the holding of regular elections. This requirement is enshrined into Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The suspension of scheduled elections is, therefore, never lightly undertaken – especially in countries with a history of authoritarianism and disregard for justice and human rights. He mentioned long term impacts of the pandemic on democracy. The first of these is likely to be a significant reduction in the availability of resources to support electoral cycle. The economic impact of the pandemic has been devastating to most countries and has seen a steep rise in unemployment, a decline in revenue and a simultaneous increase in demands for additional funding for COVID-related expenditure. These factors are likely to see budgets for elections and election management bodies significantly reduced in the short, medium and even longer term. These budget cuts come at a time when all EMBs are required to substantially reimagining their electoral processes to ensure the safety of voters and staff – with concomitant increases in expenditure for personal protective equipment, electronic processes and retraining of staff Government funding for political parties is also likely to decline. The second key impact is likely to be on voter participation and turnout. Speaking of ‘Reflections on the South African experience on Elections during COVID-19’, he said that in South Africa, the Electoral Commission took the decision in March 2020 to approach the Electoral Court to suspend all scheduled by-elections. This application to court was granted and continues currently. The reasoning behind the postponement in South Africa was twofold: Firstly to ensure the safety of voters, election staff, candidates and observers. Secondly the imposition of strict government regulations restricting the movement and gathering of people had a direct and negative effect on the ability for all parties and candidates to campaign freely and effectively. The Commission’s view was that under such conditions, elections could not be free, fair and credible. To date, 72 by-elections have been postponed since March 2020. In conclusion Mr. Mashinini said that as defenders of democracy, we must be at the forefront of public discourse around the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic to each aspect of the electoral democracy. We must find innovative and pioneering ways to balance the health and safety of our staff, voters and other stakeholders, while still ensuring the health and well-being of democracy not only in our own countries but globally. Mr Nuruzzaman Talukdar, Dir General, EC Bangladesh (ECB) informed of the bye elections already conducted, preparations for the 2023 Parliament Elections in the country and ECB’s resolve to deal with the COVID 19 within its extant legal regime which excluded proxy voting/ online voting and telephone voting. Key point was strategic gradation of election for prioritization. Key challenge faced is “difficult to predict what proper measure would be applicable for an unpredictable problem”. So to empower the election official to respond appropriately. ECB is working on the presumption that it would not be “normal” soon/ or in near future & redirected its commitment to ensuring the ‘election cycle’ – a cycle which is the lifeline of people’s representation, guarantee, accountability & transparency. Ms Mona A Srinivas Director(IC), ECI made a presentation on Indian elections and stated that the sheer numerical (both COVID infections and voters involved) and geographical complexity of the on-going challenge of conduct of elections in India under COVID-19 circumstances. She briefed the Conference on the Rajya Sabha elections conducted on June 2020 & strategies invoked and, the journey of ECI from an initial deferment in March, 2020 up to its conduct in June, 2020. The value of decentralized response - probably relevant for big jurisdictions and its balance with a centralized framework was a key take away of the presentation. It familiarized the Webinar with the steps in process for the Bihar elections and use of technology and innovative procedures to deal with the challenge of ‘numbers’ – in particular the extension of postal ballot facility. Her presentation ended with one of the ECI’s focussed outcomes i.e. ‘no voter to be left behind”. Mr Sammy Alfandika, CEO, Malawi made a presentation as to how, through the court mandated elections of June 2020, Malawi Electoral Commission had the twin challenge of meeting not only COVID-19 special circumstances and, but the Supreme Court mandate as well. He made a presentation on ‘Conducting elections in a scenario of’ increasing infections’. The presentation highlighted the role of international cooperation and support to Malawi for equipment & resources. He highlighted a major challenge to balance the competition between ‘financial and human resources” The success of the effort was a 64.81% turnout, lesser than previous, but an “undisputed” election. Mr. Rajeev Kumar, EC India, in his concluding remarks, emphasized the EMBs’ duty and resolve to ensure the electoral cycle - as the key outcome of the session. He stated that EMBs should avoid the postponement paradox and, that the trust in EMBs’ capacity to deliver should not be allowed to go down. Closing Session Mr Dharmendra Sharma, Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner, ECI shared the salient points of all the presentations with the audience. Mr. Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Intl. IDEA) said, for them at IDEA the topic of the Conference, is the topic of the year. Referring to the trends and figures he said that at the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April, the electoral calendar was dominated by postponed elections, many uncertainties and questions such as: Can elections be held safely for voters and without leading to further spreading of the virus? Will incumbents abuse the difficulty of holding elections to extend their mandates? Will the increasing number of postponed elections lead to long term legitimacy deficits? And how long will it take to recover from this deficit? If elections can be held, will they be credible? Will turnout suffer? He said that International IDEA have been very closely monitoring the global developments. The first lesson was the importance of political consensus in sustaining decisions made on the electoral calendar and procedures. The second lesson has to do with Special Voting Arrangements and the need to enable various modalities to cast the vote. The third lesson concerns the enormous impact of communication by the electoral authority. In the Korean case, once again, the authorities made a splendid effort to communicate not only the availability of expanded voting mechanisms, but also the strict sanitary protocols that would be applied to minimize the possibility of contagion in the voting centres. The latter contributed to creating the perception that voters were not confronted with the harrowing decision between exercising their most basic civic right and protecting their health. The fourth point: resources. The pandemic forced us to adopt measures that reduce the risks of contagion, which range from the availability of masks and other protective materials, to the opening of more voting centres and the extension of the voting period. If you want proper elections, you have to be willing to give more financial and human resources to the electoral authorities. Fifth crucial factor: like so many other things, successful elections ultimately depend on controlling the pandemic. Mr. Anthony Banbury, President & CEO, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) mentioned that democracies depend upon public assembly, transparency, confidence, legitimacy in elections and government institutions—all of which are put at risk by the COVID-19 Pandemic. He mentioned that every challenge carries with it the potential for positive breakthroughs – and the COVID-19 crisis has generated critical new opportunities to strengthen democratic institutions and electoral processes. Election management bodies, together with partner institutions and organizations like International IDEA, A-Web and IFES, are rethinking election fundamentals in ways that could reap long-term benefits for democratic inclusion. He gave an example, greater attention is being given to the use of postal ballots and advance voting, both of which have the potential in some contexts to increase enfranchisement, especially of underserved voters, such as displaced persons and indigenous communities. From polling station design to the education of voters on voting and public health, previously-routine processes are being up-ended, and IFES – in partnership with EMBs and others around the world – is identifying emerging evidence and best practices on conducting elections during the pandemic. He referred to the COVID-19 Briefing Series of IFES in this context. He also encouraged stakeholders to follow ElectionGuide.org, which IFES have significantly enhanced to make election data widely available to all. The efforts include updating of ElectionGuide.org to become a hub of open information on the COVID-19 Pandemic and elections. It is crucial that, during these challenging times, public authorities, including and perhaps especially electoral bodies, political parties, candidates, civil society and the international community, join together to protect the health of both citizens and their democracies. He concluded that together, we will and we must continue to overcome obstacles and build democracies that deliver for all. Mr. Jonghyun Choe, Secretary General, Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) expressed his appreciation to the Election Commission of India for the invitation to attend this meaningful seminar. He said that this Seminar was quite symbolic for India is the largest electoral democracy in the world. He also congratulated the India A-WEB Centre on the excellent achievements since its establishment in September 2019. He said that the entire world has been suffering as result of this pandemic and this unprecedented crisis has greatly impacted the field of election as well. As the Secretary General of the Association of World Election Bodies, he said he has gained a sense of the challenges faced by election management bodies all over the world. Most of these challenges are similar in kind, which means we are truly well advised to join together, work together, share experience and expertise in the hope that we can identify best practices. To that end, we need a forum. And A-WEB has tremendous potential to serve as an effective forum in particular in that it is a universal body. In his concluding remarks, Mr Sunil Arora, CEC India thanked the distinguished speakers and said that COVID- 19 pandemic has changed the way for many of our daily lives and so also it has also changed the way we organise elections. As uncertainty about the pandemic continues, conducting safe and successful elections while ensuring all the elements of a free and fair elections remain intact is a growing concern. Election Management is a very specialized field, and the best way for EMBs to upgrade their skills is to learn from one another through exchange of best practices. The ideas and experiences shared at the Webinar will be of immense use to all in managing elections. He mentioned that India A-WEB Centre has been established at New Delhi for documentation, research and training for sharing the best practices and capacity building of A-WEB members. Within a short span of time, the India A-WEB Centre has published two very useful publications viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’ and ‘COVID 19 and International Election Experience’ which have been released today for the benefit of the entire A-WEB community. The Centre is going to bring out a number of publications and documents, and monographs on various topics related to electoral systems besides a world class quarterly ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’ He also lauded the pioneering work done by the NEC of the Republic of Korea in successfully holding their general elections in April 2020 and also all other EMBs who have shared experiences of conducting elections during COVID-19 times. He also appreciated the presentations from International IDEA, IFES and A-WEB which gave us a global perspective on best practices and lessons learnt in the matter. He said that the Webinar will further foster meaningful exchanges on matters of mutual concern and interest as we share our learning and experiences. Over 120 delegates from 45 countries across the world international organizations (viz. International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and European Centre for Elections) participated in the Webinar. The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide. At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members. ECI has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12. The Webinar concluded with a vote of thanks.
  12. Earlier candidates and political parties were informed about their candidature and permissions status only by way of paper. There was no online method for intimation and the candidate had to visit the office to get the details of their permissions. Presently nomination and permission is filed through a web application namely ENCORE. To make it accessible for candidates so as to check the status and get the updates of his application, the android app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store called ‘Candidate App’. The link to download the application is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=suvidha.eci.gov.in.candidateapp&hl=en_IN. This mobile app allows candidates to check the status of their nominations and permissions filed via ENCORE. This application was launched by ECI on 13 March 2019. Functionality/ Features of the application Candidate App is used to track the nomination/ permission application status. Once the application is registered in ENCORE by the Returning Officer, the periodic status updates are available via notifications. Process Flow User authentication through mobile number and OTP. Track nomination/permission application status. Outcome of the application Candidates can now get the live status of submitted applications, candidates can check and track their submitted applications status using the mobile app which is very helpful in application processing. The application boosts the transparency initiatives of the ECI. The candidate gets to know on a real time basis whether their application has been rejected or accepted. In future, the candidate can fill in the nomination and receive permission directly from the mobile app.
  13. Before the latest infusion of technology, each permission required that Nodal Officers of various departments issue No-Objections, before the permission applied for by the Political party / Candidate was accepted by the Returning Officer. The practice in vogue was to call all the nodal officers at one designated place and summarily issue the permissions. Technology has now enabled an integrated app for election permissions. Once the permission is sought from the Returning Officer, then there is no need to seek individual No-Objection from various departments like Fire, Revenue, PWD, Police etc. With the launch of Nodal App, it is no longer binding for officials to sit at one place. All Nodal Officers are registered as part of the ENCORE and they receive notifications on the mobile app, as and when a request for permission arrives. They can accept/reject permissions and upload their status by using the App. Nodal officers can automatically assign and get push notification as the permission is applied for. The Nodal App allows officers to take immediate action i.e. whether Objection or No- Objection is to be granted to the candidate along with reasons for the same. This application was launched on 13 March 2019. Functionality/ Features of the application Nodal Officer will receive a push notification on each permission request. Nodal Officer has to reply within 24hrs and in case the same are not replied to then those permissions will be bypassed to a higher level implying that these can then be replied at RO, ARO, CEO or DEO level. Process Flow User authentication through mobile number and OTP. All new applications will be visible in the Open Tab. Take action (Objection/ No Objection). Node App login is based on OTP. All new applications will be visible in the Open section. Nodal officers have to take action (Objection/No Objection) within 24 hrs else that permission will display in overdue section. The outcome of the application This application has improved the efficiency of the Nodal and Returning Officers for granting permissions during elections. It has greatly reduced the time and clutter. Secondly, it has provided mobility to Nodal Officers. By using the mobile app, they can transact all the work assigned to them. A total number of 1,31,355 applications have been processed through the Nodal Mobile app.
  14. ECI

    Voter Turnout APPs

    The display of the voter turnout has been very limited and was only by way of press releases. The voters did not come to know about the voter turnout on a real-time basis. Voter Turnout App made it easy for the users to view the real-time information about the estimated voter turnout on their mobile phones during the General Election 2019. Voter Turnout App is used to display real-time voter turnout details of each Assembly Constituency/ Parliamentary Constituency including the number of men, women and third gender. Not only citizens but the application can also be used by media houses to capture live voter turnout data. The Voter Turnout application allows citizens to access the cumulative voter turnout percentage overall as well as for each state separately. The app also allows the user to share the poll percentage with their contact via Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Whatsapp. The application was launched on 18 April 2019 The application is available from google play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.gov.eci.pollturnout&hl=en_IN Functionality The application is designed to show the Estimated Voter Turnout for each state which can be drilled down to District and Constituency level. The information is displayed in real-time from the Voter Turnout ENCORE Server. There is no data entry provision in Voter Turnout App, as it is only meant for the dissemination of the estimated Voter turnout percentages. The main features of the App are: Estimated Voter Turnout live poll percentage (Poll Day) Share poll percentage (Via Facebook, Twitter, What’s app, Gmail etc.) Filter Election type (to view Election wise, State-wise, District wise, Constituency wise) Outcome The application has been used extensively by the media and other users ever since it was launched. During the poll days this application was used by 2,08,602 users to view the turnout. A sharing option was introduced where a user can share turnout directly from the app to social media.
  15. ECI

    Booth App

    The polling process requires manual search of the name of the electors from the book. The majority of the time in the polling station is spent on performing the search. Similarly, as per the Commission prescription, every 2 hour report needs to be sent regarding poll turnout. There are multiple errors due to incorrect entries and manual entries. Later on, there is a lot of hassle on reconciliation of the figures from EVM Votes to the voter turnout. The Voters rarely get to know the queue at the polling station and young voters get dissuaded due to the long queue. Booth App is an integrated app of the ENCORE application, which facilitates in faster identification of voters using encrypted QR code from the digital marked copy of the electors. This reduces the queue, helps in faster polling and allows error-free recording of two hourly poll turnout with minimal intervention. Booth App was piloted in Hamirpur (Uttar Pradesh) in 5 polling stations, 3 assembly constituencies (Samastipur, Kasba Peth and Phagwara) of the three states (Maharashtra, Bihar and Punjab) and thereafter launched in 10 ACs of Jharkhand in November 2019. The whole process consists of the creation of encrypted QR code which is printed in the Photo Voter Slips. The Citizens can alternatively download the digital photo voter slips from the Voter Helpline App. The voter presents with the QR coded slips at the reception of the polling centre. The Booth level officer scans the QR code and allows entry of the voters whose names are listed. Inside the Polling Station, the polling official again scans the QR code to verify the identity of the voter before allowing the voter to poll. Polling Official marks the entry of the voter inside the polling station using the booth app in the mobile phone. The recorded entries are then transmitted back to the central server of the ECI. The returning Officer gets to view the information rich dashboard in a real-time voter turnout, events and incidences and various poll events. On the other hand the Presiding Officer enters and records all the ancillary activities like dispatch details, mock poll, poll start and poll end. All types of incidents and events are also recorded from the mobile app. The sector magistrate monitors the poll turnout in all his allocated Polling Stations and does the EVM replacement through the mobile app. He uses the reserve machines from his stock and replaces the deployed one due to malfunction/replacement requests. The website of the booth app is available here: https://boothapp.eci.gov.in Functionality/ Features of the application Fast electors search in the polling station using QR code Advance Queue information to Voters used Artificial Intelligence Real-time Voter turnout information to Voters and Officials Assist Polling Official in the detection of duplicate voting Fast electors search The Voters have distributed QR code-based Photo Voter slips. The voters present with QR code enabled slips at the Polling station. Alternatively, a Voter can carry a Digital Photo Voter slip for paperless entry. Without the use of the internet, the voter is searched from the mobile app. In case of absence of QR code-based Photo Voter slip, the voter is still identified through EPIC or Name search. Authentic Identification Once the QR code is scanned, the mobile app correctly and instantly identifies the Voter and presents to him the coloured photograph along with the complete elector’s details. Marking attendance is instantly done through the booth app. The process is simplified and adds to the authenticity. In future, the Polling Official will not require to carry bulky paper documents containing the Voter list. Advance Queue Information Using Artificial Intelligence and advanced mathematical models, the booth app calculates the queue at the polling station. This information is then pushed to the Voter Helpline Mobile app. The Voter using their mobile phone can check the current queue and plan their visit accordingly. Real-time Voter turnout The booth app is configured to connect to the central ECI server in a minimalistic way and transmits the data in an encrypted manner. This helps in giving meaningful information about gender-wise polling, age-wise polling, speed of polling, traffic during the day and other poll-related events and incidences. This helps the Election officers in making the right decision at the right time. No Duplicate Entries The Booth app auto-detects the duplicate entries and prevents repeat voters from entering the polling station. The Polling Official get a loud sound on his mobile phone. The duplicate voter cannot be allowed to be entered into the Polling station as booth app will not accept it. Real-Time Event and Incidence The Presiding officer also uses the booth app to record poll incidences and events. The PRO can register any poll incidence like a riot, Fraudulent defacing, destroying or removal of the list of notice or other documents at the polling station, Natural calamity, Booth capturing, Failure of voting machine. The incidence reported by PRO is flashed to the Sector Magistrate, District Election officer as a red alarm. EVM / VVPAT inventory Management The booth app has a module for sector magistrate who is responsible for carrying reserve EVM/ VVPAT machines. Upon reporting by the Presiding Officer through the booth app itself, the sector magistrate gets an alert and the inventory replacement are recorded on the app. This way the decision-makers get to know the statistical report and the reason for replacement instantly compiled on the dashboard. Presiding Officer Diary From Voter turnout to incidences the PRO records all the data in the booth app to generate a digital PRO diary. PRO also receives the poll material and record in the app. He reports his arrival in the polling station through the app and also the poll start and end time. This minimises the paperwork, speeds up reporting mechanisms and provides assimilated reports in the dashboard to senior officers. Real-time information of Polling party through GIS The polling party location is also tracked on the map view. This helps in correctly locating the polling parties. The Presiding officer is also tracked from the booth app and thus immediate intervention is provided. The sector magistrate location is also visualised on the GIS dashboard, thus in future the last mile information about reserve machines will be available for decision-makers. Process Flow Booth Level Officer scans the QR code-based physical / digital photo voter slip at the entry gate Inside polling station, first polling official scans again and mark the attendance of voter You can now vote Step 1: Presentation of Printed Booth Slip / Voter Helpline digital vault with QR CODE at Help desk (BLO) Step 2: Polling officials scan the QR code of Printed booth slip/Voter Helpline digital vault with QR CODE and verify the voter details through Booth App. All four types of users (BLO/PO/PRO/SM) use Booth App to Login, features of each user are listed below BLO Booth App Login in Booth App using Mobile number and OTP (registered by RO in ENCORE) Perform Device compatibility check Scan every voter who come to Polling Station (No skipping) Ensure data sync to server using view status screen Polling Official Booth App Login in Booth App using Mobile number and OTP Perform Device compatibility check Mock Poll activity Start Poll Scan and identify the voter by matching the details and mark attendance Ensure data sync to server using view status screen Poll End Presiding Officer Booth App Login in Booth App using Mobile number and OTP Perform Pre-Poll activity like Infra check Report at Polling stations with GIS capture Feedback for Polling Stations Entry PRO Diary Report EVM malfunction and incidence Sector Magistrate Booth App Login in Booth App using Mobile number and OTP Review received notification in App for EVM malfunction and interruptions. EVM replacement if required with reserve machines View Voter turnout Polling station wise and monitor View Polling station details and contact details of Polling parties Outcome The booth app has been used in 4709 total polling stations. A total of 19288 number of officials which include Polling Officials, Presiding Officers, Booth level Officers, and Sector Magistrate have used the booth app as of now. Identification of Voters through Mobile App: Instead of searching from the physical list of electors, Polling officials were able to instantly search the voters by using booth app. 1818923 number of identifications have been done through booth app Faster Polling: As the voters are identified from the QR code instantly, the majority of the time is saved for the polling official. The mobile app displays the coloured photograph along with complete details of the voter, the Polling staff are instantly able to identify the voter. Preventing duplicate voting: The inherent feature of the application is to prevent duplicate voting. If the voter again enters with the same Slip, the booth app instantly displays and make a sound that the voter has already voted. As and when the connectivity improves, the duplicate voters can be identified across the polling stations too. Queue Information through Voter Helpline App: By using Artificial intelligence, the voters could see for the first time the queue in their polling station. Thus voters were able to plan their visit in advance to the polling station Token Number for queue management: The BLO app gives the token number to voter which is generated from the booth app. This aids in queue management. Online Submission of PRO diary: The Presiding Officers are now able to fill in their statutory diary online including turnout, events and incidences. Real-time updates on Poll incidences and Violations: PRO can now directly send SOS messages informing about any poll violation and incidences to Sector Magistrate and Returning Officers. EVM Replacement through the Mobile app: Sector Magistrate for the first time are able to do the EVM reserve machine replacement from the mobile app. Upon receipt of the message from PRO, the Sector Magistrate allocates the reserve machines and takes back the defective machines through the mobile app. Real-time Voter turnout: Instead of manual feeding which has so much data entry and calculations errors, Polling Officials were able to send the real-time report directly. There has not been any manual intervention in the entry or sending the 2 hourly turnout report, Detailed Poll Events reports: Returning Officers are now able to get the report such as time of polling party dispatch, arrival, mock poll start, poll start and poll end reports on the dashboard. Rich poll dashboard: The dashboard now shows the reports such as gender distribution of voters in real-time, male/female/others distribution, queue at the polling station, speed of the poll, the busiest hour of the polling station, events and incidences and voter turnout in the real-time

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