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    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.
  2. 49 downloads

    The date for receipt of research papers with abstracts, Articles, Book Reviews etc. for the Journal AWI- JOE extended to 31st January 2021. A-WEB India Centre, on behalf of all Election Management Bodies, is going to launch this Journal to include global Research Papers, Articles and Book Reviews by renowned writers, scholars, practitioners in areas of contemporary interest in the field of Elections. A-WEB India Journal of Elections 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 will include peer reviewed contributions from members of the A-WEB community and beyond. AWI-JOE will 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. The Journal will also publish Book Reviews, Comments in response to AWI-JOE Research Papers or Articles and Notes on topics of current or contemporary interest. Some issues of the Journal may also contain a 5,000 to 12,000 words Review Articles – either in the form of a detailed discussion of a single book or as a review of some specific area of the discipline.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. ECI

    cVIGIL Mobile APPs

    India being the largest democracy requires strict enforcement of Model Code Conduct (MCC) to ensure free and fair elections. From past many elections, the enforcement machinery has been brought into place which used to identify and take appropriate action against violators. So far, the complaints about violations of Model Code of Conduct often could not be followed instantly, leading to the violators escaping detection from the action squads. Also, due to lack of any documented evidence in the form of pictures, audios or videos it was seen as a hurdle in verifying a complaint. Further, the absence of a robust response system to quickly and accurately identify the scene of occurrence of violations with the help of geographical location details hampered election officers’ ability to apprehend the violators. cVIGIL empowers Citizens to report Model Code of Conduct Violations such as bribery, free gift, liquor distribution, playing loudspeakers beyond the permissible time during the elections. By using a simple mobile app, the citizen captures the live photo or video. The Election machinery comes into action immediately as they get the evidentiary proof of the violation. Every cVIGIL case is acted upon and replied back with the action taken in the 100-minute timeline. The cVIGIL is now being used in Delhi elections. Since its first pilot in five states’ Assembly General elections during October- December 2018 till the Jharkhand State Assembly General elections during November-December 2019, a total number of 1,71,745 cases have been filled through cVIGIL and from which 1,27,567 (74%) of the cases have been found correct. The mobile app is available at Google Play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.nic.eci.cvigil&hl=en_IN and in Apple Store here: https://apps.apple.com/in/app/cvigil/id1455719541 The Election Commission of India designed and developed a simple yet effective mobile app called cVIGIL. At its core, cVIGIL draws on the idea of community policing. It spurs citizen engagement, and participation in the enforcement process. It assumes officials need citizens, and a trust-based partnership to properly conduct elections. And the mobile application facilitates that partnership by creating awareness, building trust, and confidence. cVIGIL has firmly taken root in the Electoral System of India. The initiative of the Election Commission of India will go meaningfully a long way in engaging Citizens in the electoral process but also meaningfully bringing in a level playing field. In coming times, cVIGIL will become the linchpin of democracy. However, there are many things that need to be done. The first thing is about its reach. A lot of efforts need to be done for its availability to the common man. cVIGIL is a major transformative application which has simplified the recording, reporting and resolving the complex model code of conduct violations during the elections period. By use of this technology, Election Commission of India has ushered in an era of greater transparency and involvement of common man in the electoral process. As citizens become more aware about it, the more they will feel part of the elections and better will be the participation in democracy. cVIGIL has won the ‘best Excellence Award’ for the year 2019 given by Computer Society of India. The award was given on 17th January 2019 at KiiT Bhubaneswar. Functionality/ Features of the application c-VIGIL Citizen Mobile App C-Vigil was built to report Model Code of Conduct violations during elections. The app prioritized the speedy and effective actions by authorities and promised users status reports within 100 minutes. This “100-minute” rule made the app a reliable way to report violations. The 100-minute time-lines infused the energy into the enforcement staff and a sense of urgency prevailed. Register Complaints: The app allows every citizen within the election boundaries to report the Model Code of Conduct / Expenditure Violations by taking photo/audio/video through their mobile phones by signing into the application. Anonymous User: The app also allows the citizen to complain anonymously, without revealing their personal details/ identity. Geotagging: The app automatically enables a geo-tagging feature when users switched on their camera in the cVIGIL to report a violation, which helps the field unit to know the precise location of the incident. Investigator App cVIGIL Investigator app has been made for the Field units like Flying Squads & Static Surveillance Team to investigate the cVIGIL Citizen cases and conduct Suo-Moto case reporting. Instant Action on incidents: The application forced the Field Unit to reach the spot of the incidence within 15 mins and only then they could upload their report. Suo Moto: One of the important byproducts of the cVIGIL was the use of cVIGIL by Field Units themselves to file suo-moto cases. cVIGIL Monitor App cVIGIL Monitor App provides access to all cases filed in the jurisdiction to Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) and ECI Officials from where they can emphasize and highlight important cases for speedy investigation and redressal. Monitor Live Case: This technology was used for live case monitoring of all the violation complaints directly through mobile devices. Emphasize/ Highlight cases: Officers can highlight/ Emphasize the cases for prompt resolution and enforce the time-bound pressure on flying squads. Live Status of complaint: Real-time tracking allows citizens and other officials, to check the progress of complaints. cVIGIL Decider App & RO Dashboard cVIGIL Decider App/ Dashboard enables the District Electoral Officer (DEO) / Returning Officers (ROs) to decide upon the cases which are sent by the Investigator at the convenience of their mobile phones or system. View Live cases: Decider can access all MCC Violation complaints and check real-time progress. Action on Cases: Decider/ Returning Officer can take actions such as Drop, Decide, and Escalate on cVIGIL cases after the report submitted by the Field Unit. cVIGIL Observer App cVIGIL Observer App allows Observers and other staff authorized by ECI, to see MCC/ expenditure violation, Appointed for general observers, expenditure observers, police observers may login with Observer ID and Password and avail below features Observers can view the cases falling under their jurisdictions Highlight the cases if urgent attention required Give observation after the investigation is complete by FST. Observers can comment only, after a Field Unit has submitted ‘action taken’ reports on them. Outcome of the application In election management terms, cVIGIL achieved three things: bottom-up enforcement of laws, timely and effective enforcement of those laws, and a preventive rather than reactive enforcement regime. At its core, cVIGIL draws on the idea of community policing encouraging citizens to participate in the enforcement process. It assumes officials need citizens, and a trust-based partnership to properly conduct elections. A mobile application facilitates that partnership by creating awareness, building trust, and confidence. For example, this election saw district election officers publicizing the application, and encouraging its use. Countless reports suggest that this spurred citizens to rethink their role in the electoral process, stay vigilant, and know about what is permissible as part of a campaign, and what is not. From the Commission’s perspective, the application generated invaluable data that draws on embedded actors - people who know their local environment, its most pressing problems and forms of violations, and can accurately report these to officials. Tapping into “local wisdom” and “information pools” has the potential to significantly shape the Commission’s activities, particularly drawing up a priority list of violations that can be used in future enforcement. Moreover, such applications build trust and confidence. As our data suggest, a large proportion of users were willing to file non-anonymous complaints; and re-usage rates indicate they felt their complaints were being acted on. In fact, encouraged by the initial response, the Commission started a “leaderboard” in the app, to identify and reward the most proactive citizens. In a way, this created an incentive for others to also actively use the platform; besides creating reputational benefits for civic-minded users. It is also worth noting that in many cases, ordinary voters raised their voice against local strongmen or influential persons who were flouting the law. Put together, citizens were more aware, had greater trust in institutions, and self-confidence. Not only does cVIGIL act as a potent decision support system tool for election machinery but also ensures participation of common man in conducting free and fair elections. 92% of cases were registered through cVIGIL mode in comparison to other modes such as letters, phone calls or by post. A whopping 99 % of cases were resolved during the 2019 Lok Sabha phase and every case which was resolved through the cVIGIL was informed to the complainant. The application cVIGIL bonded together all election machinery in enforcing Model Code of Conduct violations. The Election Commission was able to directly drill down upto the level of field units. This brought in alertness and quality in disposal of cases. The timelines were enforced by a seamless information technology interface. During the assembly election held at Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana 19,050 total cases were reported and 13,252 total cases were found correct and addressed. During the Lok sabha election 2019, 1,42,270 total cases were reported and 1,10,030 number of total cases were found correct and addressed. During the assembly election held in Maharashtra and Haryana, 9,902 total cases were reported and 7,650 total cases were found correct and addressed.
  8. ECI

    Voter Helpline App

    The Voters never had the convenience of voter centric features delivered through the mobile app. All the services were available either in the physical format or were scattered in various websites and applications. The Voter had to either fill in the physical form or visit the website. Similarly, making the complaint had been an arduous task. As the ECI main website contains the information for all stakeholders, a normal voter had great difficulty in navigation and finding the content. Voter Helpline App is the comprehensive app for Indian Voters to search their name in the electoral roll, submit forms for voter registration & modification, download their digital photo voter slips, make complaints, find details about the contesting candidates and most importantly see the real-time results of the elections. 19 Million (1.9 Crore) users used the Voter Helpline Mobile Application to search their names in the Electoral Roll till date. With 2,16,81,289 (2.16 Crore or 21 Million) downloads and 1,53,604 (1.53 lac or 153K) user feedback, this national award-winning application has taken roots as a major tool for citizen empowerment. The seed for the Voter Helpline was sown in the year 2016, when a new website for Election Commission was envisaged. In the process of designing the new website, the concept of Voter Helpline took its humble beginnings. At that stage, the Project was codenamed as ‘ECI Citizen App’ and the initial objective was to display on the mobile app, the main ECI Website content. However, soon we identified 5 core but disparate applications which perfectly made sense for all of us in ECI but hardly made any sense to the voter. For us in the ECI every application was as important as the other and every application justified its independent existence. But in-turn we were sending our hapless voters to five different websites to do the transactions. First, of course, was the ECI Main Website, which contains gargantuan sized data starting from the year 1951. It had everything from History, Elections, Statistics, Photo Gallery, Current News, Press Release and what not. So why don’t we provide this information in the hands of every citizen? The second was the budding new website; ECI SVEEP Portal. When we designed this site, we realised the immense potential it had for Voter Education. States started posting pictures of their campaign, success stories and innovative ideas. So why don’t we give wider access to the audience directly? And allow them to dip into such success stories and creative ideas! The third was, of course, our Citizen Grievance Portal. It had existed for many years and had been very successful for redressing grievances. All States’ Chief Electoral Officers, District Election Officers and Electoral Roll Officers are connected and interwoven to receive and respond to grievances. So why don’t we bring the functionality of lodging the complaints on the mobile? Why not provide the facility for tracking the complaint and the forward response of their grievance on their mobile? The fourth was Electoral Search website. This has been a very successful website for searching one’s name in the electoral roll. Why not provide an option for electoral search from the mobile app? Why not give the option of downloading the Voter details directly on mobile? Why not link Contact details of the Booth Level Officer, Electoral Roll Officer, District Election Officer and Chief Electoral officers customised to voter area? The fifth was the submission of Forms. nvsp.in has been in existence for many years providing the facility for anybody to register online, request for transfer, request for a change in details and request for duplicate EPIC Card. Why not provide all the forms in the mobile app? Why not provide the option to upload the required documents directly from mobile gallery or by clicking a picture from a mobile phone? Why not give an option for form tracking? This long chain of questions got us to the drawing board. It was a mammoth task as always is the case, when we work on integration. Stitching them all together was a delicate and arduous task for my handpicked core team of engineers. They built, they dismantled, structured again but they never stopped. When the Voter Helpline App was presented before the Commission, it was instantly approved for launch but with a caveat for pre-trials and feedbacks before we launched for the wider public. The app received a hugely positive response and more than 99% of people liked the Voter Helpline App during an anonymous survey. That momentous day was 8th February 2019, when the app was formally launched. The application came live with 5 disparate technologies into one: Main website, SVEEP website, Electoral Search Website, nvsp forms, and complaint website. Instantly, it had forms pouring in, complaints getting resolved, voters getting aware about EVM, downloading the latest ECI news and most importantly searching their name on the electoral roll. As we go into print almost 35,59,206 forms have been submitted through the mobile app alone, and we haven’t heard the last word on the app’s success yet! It took its shape as ‘Voter Helpline’, when Hon’ble Commission directed to setup ‘1950’ as universal call centre number and to launch Voter Verification and Identification, (VVIP) Programme. When ‘1950’ was named ‘Voter Helpline’, the ECI Citizen App became ‘Voter Helpline App’. The Voter Helpline app has been the most important Mobile app of the Election Commission of India. 53 Million electoral searches have been performed through the mobile app. With the advent of Booth App, the polling station searches have become very easy and fast by the use of QR code. The Photo Voter slip contains the QR code which is scanned by the Polling Officials in the polling station. Now the Voters can also download their digital photo voter slip from the Voter Helpline Mobile App. The process involves linking up their mobile phone with that of EPIC card. The Digital Photo Voter slips can be shown at the polling station instead of physical photo voter slip. The Voter Helpline Mobile application is available on both the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eci.citizen&hl=en_IN and Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voter-helpline/id1456535004 Features Electoral Search is the paramount feature of Voter Helpline Application, which allows voters to search their electoral roll by entering personal Details, EPIC, or by scanning Barcode. The information can be saved by the voter/ elector to use it as voter slip. He/ she can share this information to their contact list also. Forms (NVSP): Submitting the online forms such as New Voter Registration, Update in Details and others, became very easy by the use of Voter Helpline Application. Types of Forms Apply Online (New): It allows the new users (Overseas also) to fill the application to register themselves as a Voter. Transfer/ Shifting: It allows swift transfer/ shifting from one constituency to another to the users. Deletion: This form helps the users for objecting inclusion or seeking deletion of name in the electoral roll. Correction Of entries: It allows the voters to change electoral particular through their mobile phone only. Transposition: It allows the convenience of the relocation of habitation in one constituency from one place to another. Duplicate Epic: In case of correction in electors details or change in address the user can request to issue a duplicate Photo identity card (EPIC) with his/ her new details. Status: Real time status of the application can also be viewed by the users on their phone by entering the application id. Each and every step is shown to provide transparency. Save Form: An option to save the form is also available in the application, to allow ease of access to the users on the later date. Complaints (NGSP) : The facility of lodging the Grievances online makes the Voter Helpline application more viable and imitating. A Universal Helpline Number 1950 has also been included in the app for those users, who prefer to call and register their complaints. File Complaints: Registering a complaint has never been this easy, but the Voter Helpline App made it a piece of cake for its users. With the convenience of simple clicks, users can file all the Elections or Non- Elections related complaints. Status: The real-time status of the complaints gives transparency. Candidate In order to facilitate the voters/ electors, the application has been expanded and now offers the facility to view all the details of candidates such as Profile, Affidavits, and others. The user can bookmark their favourite candidate to see the step-by-step progress. Candidate Profile It allows the user to view and download the profile of the contesting candidates in their mobile phones. Affidavit Original Affidavits can also be downloaded by the users, which have been uploaded by the candidates. Bookmark App allowed the user to bookmark their favourite candidates to track their progress and get personalized results. Share The voters can download the profile of the candidate and share the details to their contact list. Result Displaying the real-time result on the mobile phone for the first time, was one of the crucial features of this application. It allowed the users to see the authentic results directly on their phone from anywhere. The user can also view the real-time results of his/ her constituency by scanning the barcode of the EPIC card. Search your Polling Officer The application also has an option to search the Booth Level officer, Electoral Roll Officer, District Election Officer, and the Chief Electoral Officer and can make a direct call to them from the app Call Directly Schedule of Elections Navigate Polling Station Selfie Campaign The Selfie campaign has been introduced this time to encourage the voters to go and vote. ECI used the social media platform to spread awareness and made it a full-blown phenomenon. Elector Verification Programme(EVP) Campaign Electors verification Programme allows electors to verify their details verify their details, family tagging and collect feedback on polling stations using Voter Helpline App and Electors need to link their mobile number. Personal Vault The Voter Vault facility was provided in the Voter Helpline mobile application by which QR code-based booth slips were available digitally. The voter could display the digital QR code in the polling station and cast the vote. Process Flow To use the features of the Voter HelpLine mobile app, voters open the app in mobile and login in the app using mobile number and OTP functionality. The voter can select the feature by clicking on the Home screen as mentioned below - Electoral Search By Barcode By Personal Details By EPIC id Forms(NVSP) New Registration Transfer Shifting Deletion Correction of Entries Transposition Forms(NGSP) File Complaints Track Status of Complaint Results Party-wise Results Constituency wise Constituency wise trends Electoral Verification Programme Linking of Mobile with EPIC Mobile number verification Search your details Correction of entries & Verification Build family Tree Candidate Nomination Status Parliamentary Constituency/ Assembly Constituency Contested Accepted/ Rejected Withdrawn Selfie Campaign Personal Vault The outcome of the application The two innovative ICT applications of Election Commission of India i.e. ‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline App’ developed in-house have won the eGovernance ‘Award of Excellence’ for the year 2019. The award was presented at KiiT, Bhubaneswar. Dr. Kushal Pathak, Director ICT & CISO, ECI and Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Sh. Sushil Kumar Lohani received the award on behalf of ECI. These awards were given by Computer Society of India (CSI), Special Interest Group on e-Governance (CSI SIG e-Gov) at KiiT, Bhubaneswar on 17th January 2020. The statistics speak of its volume and success. Recently, the Election Commission of India solicited voters to actively verify their name in the Electoral Roll and get it corrected. This program was a major success with the following statistics EVP stats on VHA Status of EVP program is as follows from 1st September 2019 to 1st December 2019 ( **For states excluding J&K, Maharashtra, Haryana & Jharkhand) Number of days for which the EVP Program was implemented - 91 days Total Number of electors - 77,07,90,304 Total Number of requests received - 76,22,95,111 Average Requests received per day - 83,76,869 Percentage of request received (%) vs Total Electors - 98.90% Number of correct entries reported - 73,00,50,926 Percentage of correct entries - 95.77% Number of incorrect entries reported - 3,23,19,692 Percentage of incorrect entries - 4.23% Number of form 8 received - 2,05,24,549 Number of Unenrolled electors reported - 7,31,213 Number of prospective electors reported - 6,24,581 Number of Form-6 received - 4,926,961 Number of Form-7 received - 6,881,784 Number of Form-8 received - 41,077,979 Number of Form-8A received - 497,243 The Voter Helpine app is a single-stop solution for Voters in India and will grow further with more such voter centric features being added in the app.
  9. Election Commission of India has been constantly focussing on providing better services to Persons with Disabilities through various mediu. In the world of technology innovation, the mobile application has taken a front seat. Many of the PwD effectively use the mobile application for day to day living. In order to facilitate the Persons with Disability, the Election commission of India developed an android based mobile application, the PwD App. An eligible person with a disability or reduced mobility / physical functions can get enrolled in electoral roll by declaring themselves as a person with a disability. Upon receiving the request from PwD electors/ voters, the election commission will ensure that the booth level officer will reach the doorstep delivery of electoral services. The PwD app facilitates PwD Voters in verifying their names in the electoral roll, enrolling them, getting their name, address and photograph corrected. To do this, mobile accessibility features like voice-over prompts, high contrasting interface, and easy navigation features were developed in the app. The user interface was kept very simple. The PwD user enters the mobile number and address and the information travels down to Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) in minutes and ERO in-turn allocate the case to Booth Level Officer to visit the home of the PwD user to get the form filled up. During the whole process, PwD App user can use the reference number to track their application status. Features Inform About Your Disability: The App allows the person with disabilities to mark themselves as PwD voter by entering their EPIC number only and it will automatically fetch their details. Voice Access and select to speak features are also available for the visually impaired person. Request For New Voter ID Registration: This allows the PwDs to register as a new voter with the minimal information. Registration will only require the name and address of the person and the rest of the work would be done by the Election Commission by providing doorstep facility, i.e. BLO would be assigned and visit the home of the PwD user to get the form filled up. Request For Transfer: When a voter relocates from one geographical location or one constituency to another, their voting districts or state also changes, to handle the transfer process, PwD app provides the option to the user to raise the transfer request. Request For Updation: Any correction, addition, or deletion in voter ID card can be done using a “Request for Updation” feature. Request For Wheelchair: The PwD user can raise the request for wheelchair-using this feature of the mobile app by clicking the option after login using the mobile number. Find Polling Booth: The booth locator feature incorporated and integrated Google Maps, to ease the PwD voters to reach polling stations. It helps the voters to find the polling booth location and directs them to the booth location from the current location. Interaction Controls: The TalkBack feature allows interaction using speech, vibration, and audible feedback for users who are unable to operate smartphones. The enlarged graphics like text and icons, High contrast themes, Structured headlines, and better typography enhances the readability of the content. Easy To Use: This App has been designed keeping easy and interactive user interface in view. The content has been classified based upon the user's disability. PwD users with minimal technical knowledge can easily use the app to claim all the benefits like the request for a wheelchair, mark as PwD, etc. Candidate List: One of the important features of the app is the availability of the contesting candidate list on the app. The PwD voter can find the list of their candidates. Once the list is finalised, the PwD voter can know the list which is exactly as per the ballot paper. The blind user can hear the candidate list along with the position in the list. Process Flow To use the features of the PwD mobile app, voter opens the app in mobile and login in the app using mobile number and OTP functionality. A voter can select the feature by clicking on the Home screen as mentioned below - Login Launch Mobile App Enter Mobile Number Enter OTP received Submit PwD Home Request for Marking as PwD Enter EPIC Number Search BLO Contact Details displayed Request for New Voter Registration Enter Voter details Submit Request for Transfer Select Current AC, Transfer AC Submit Request for Change (Correction, Deletion) Enter EPIC Number Search Enter Voter details to be changed Request for wheelchair Enter EPIC Number Search User details fetched Submit Candidate Candidate List displayed Filter details election wise Register Complaints Select relevant details Enter Complaint Submit Search Polling Official Enter EPIC Number Search BLO, ERO, DEO details fetched based on EPIC number Booth Locator Enter EPIC Number Search Navigate to the polling station Check Status Enter Complaint Id Submit Read/ View Articles Articles are displayed The outcome of the application In order to facilitate voting by PwDs electors, Commission has started some critical and focused initiatives like providing wheelchair facilities during elections, volunteer assistance in the booth, and transport to the polling station. Further, to facilitate visually impaired people, the Commission has introduced a very important feature in the PwD application, which reads out the full candidate list with name and serial number to the voter. In addition, the voter can select the desired number from the ballot list and cast their vote with ease. 47,727 requests for marking themselves as PwD have been received from the app. Till today 3,105,355 user has viewed their PwD status. The Application is available on the Google Play Store and can be downloaded using the given link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pwd.eci.com.pwdapp&hl=en_IN.
  10. ECI

    Observer APP

    General Observers are deployed by the Election Commission of India in the election going states and ACs. However, establishing a two-way communication mechanism had been sporadic and informal. Observer App allows the General observers, Police Observers and Expenditure observers to file their statutory report like their arrival, departure etc. Upon deployment to a constituency, the Observer gets the complete deployment schedule in their mobile. Similarly, all notices, meeting invites, constituency details are available on the observer app. One of the important features of the app is the visibility of the cVIGIL cases directly on the observer app. The Observer can view all the cases and give his observatory remarks. This helps the Returning Officer in deciding the case. Similarly, all the flying squad locations are visible on the mobile app. This an observer can find them on the map, click to see the work being performed, and finally call them directly without the need of separately approaching them. Observers can also keep track of the complaints cases being filed in the Assembly constituency and monitor their disposal. The Observer app is available from the Google Play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.gov.eci.observer The application was launched on Mar 14, 2019 Features The features provided in Observer app enables the observer to - Information of cVIGIL cases Information of Flying Squad Observers can view profile, notice board and fill reports via options available on the dashboard. The outcome of the application The Observer Mobile app provides better personalisation and ease of sending the notifications. The mobile-specific features such as a mobile device like camera, contact list, GPS, phone calls, accelerometer, the compass can be used, the mobile allows working offline and most importantly a user tends to spend more time on apps.
  11. ECI

    Voter Turnout

    Earlier, the 2 hourly voter turnout used to be captured by Returning Officers from Polling Station, thereafter the report used to be sent to District and then to Chief Electoral Officers. The CEO would then compile and send the report to ECI. The media, however, would get the voter turnout only at the end of the day. Voter Turnout was launched mid-way during the Parliamentary Elections of 2019 and it completely transformed the way the voter turnout was shared with the media and citizens. With the launch of the Voter turnout, the turnout is auto-compiled as and when the Returning Officers enter the data. During the day, only percentage voter turnout is entered by the respective Returning Officers. Once the polling party reaches back to the reception centre, a detailed voter turnout consisting of male, female and others are then entered into the system. The Voter turnout app is available both as an android mobile app and also on the desktop. The Desktop link is here: https://encore.eci.gov.in/ It also helps the officers to analyze the voting trends and take action if any exceptional behaviour is noticed. Functionality The mechanism involves simple entry of estimated cumulative percentage turnout through the web or mobile app during the currency of the poll. These entries are to be done without fail in a designated time slot by the Returning Officer /Assistant Returning Officers int he ENCORE Portal. After the end of the Poll, System allows entry of detailed turnout reports - Constituency wise and Polling Station wise which includes Male, Female, Others gender number against the total number of electors. This new mechanism simplifies the data entry of two-hourly voter turnout and helps in timely dissemination of the information on a real-time basis. To ensure timely entries for each Constituency, Returning officers are provided with the option to enter the Poll percentage through ENCORE Web Portal or ENCORE Admin App. The entries to be made Estimated Voter Turnout 2 hourly Detailed Voter Turnout after End of Poll Process Flow Following are the roles and responsibilities Official Role Returning Officer/ Assistant Returning Officer Data entry as per the time slot District Election Officer Ensuring data entry on allotted time slot And Generation of Report Chief Electoral Officer Monitoring and Generation of Reports Election Commission of India Monitoring and Generation of Reports Each Returning Officer is required to make the entries of estimated Voter Turnout in the following time slots Poll Turnout Report Timings Data entry time slot End Time of Allowed time slot (Entry is frozen after this time) 9 AM Report 7.30 AM to 9.30 AM 9.30 AM 11 AM Report 9.30 AM to 11.30 AM 11.30 AM 1 PM Report 11.30 AM to 1.30 PM 1.30 PM 3 PM Report 01.30 PM to 3.30 PM 03.30 PM 5 PM Report 04.30 PM to 5.30 PM 05.30 PM CLOSE OF POLL Anytime after 3 PM Not Frozen Outcome This simple and time-bound mechanism of Voter turnout entries by Returning Officers ensures error-free and real-time dissemination of Voter Turnout trends to Election officers and Citizens directly through ECI website and Voter Turnout App. The Process is incorporated in the workflow of the Returning officers and the alert system of the application itself ensures 100% entries to be done on time. The media houses get the turnout result in real-time and are now officially used by the News Portal to display the voter turnout. This has removed the guesstimates and has established a single-source of truth. Similarly, nobody has to wait to know the turnout results until the end of the day.
  12. ECI

    Election Counting Application

    Earlier, the returning officer would compile the report on paper, excel sheet or state-specific application. Thereafter the data used to be inputted into the ECI main website for display of results. This caused delays, errors in data entry and most importantly added up work of the returning officer. ENCORE Counting is the most vital and robust module that has been developed to run on the Counting day for counting of votes, monitoring of end to end process and declaration of Results by the Returning officer. The ENCORE counting application is an end-to-end application for returning officers to digitize the votes polled, tabulate the data each round-wise and then take out various statutory reports of counting. The application was launched on 10 March 2019 and has now been evolved into a complete counting application wherein the returning officer can now enter the votes polled each table-wise. Functionality and Process flow Counting Application has been deployed for entry of counting data on the results day. This module uses the same data of Contesting candidates that are finalized by the Returning Officer after scrutiny of the candidates. The Application is designed in a way that the series of work to be done by the Returning Officer in the System will automatically be popped up one after another. This actually helps the Officers to do the work in a systematic way and bounds them to follow the procedure. Returning Officer is the key person for the counting software but for the help in the data entry part, additional Returning Officer- Computer Agents can be created. These additional users only help in data punching, all the decisive powers are with the Returning Officer Login only. On the Counting day once the pre-check of data is completed, the Returning Officer starts the counting module by setting up of No. of Rounds scheduled and then as per the counting start time the entry of EVM Votes counted on each Table is entered for Polling station wise. After entering this data, it is mandatory to take the printout of TRV (Table-wise Recording of Votes) to verify and sign it. Similarly, the data for all tables in that Round is entered and verified. Returning Officer then verifies the completed Round data through RDF (Round Declaration Form) and publishes it for public view. Returning Officer also enters Postal / ETPBS Votes for the respective Constituency which is also verified and signed before publishing. To ensure faster dissemination of authentic information, the data is first entered in ENCORE before the round results are announced at the counting. The timely publication of the round-wise information is vital for establishing a single source of authentic data. Features Fast and Robust Secure with 2 step User Authentication Simple and Interactive Interface Facility to save data as draft till publishing Editing of data based on user role Download and Print option available for data verification Various Forms like FORM 21C, FORM 21E and FORM 20 generated directly from the system Audit and Transaction Logs are maintained. Outcome Declaring results in Indian Elections with data of 8026 candidates and 61,36,56,298 voters is a herculean task. Nowhere in the world the results are displayed as fast and in as authentic a manner as has been done in India. The application is hardened for cyber safety so that the results published by the Election Commission of India are authentic and are always available. Similarly, it has aided the Returning Officer in the computation of the votes. The Timely and Accurate Round-wise Trends and Results are widely published through ECI Results Portal, Voter Helpline App and Election Trends TV which is playing a vital role for establishing a single source of truth. Simplified process and validation checks at various levels has made the system more effective and Robust. Various essential Forms at the level of Returning Officer are generated from the system itself like: FORM 21C (Formal Declaration of Result), FORM 21E (Certificate of Return of Elections), FORM 20 (Final Result Sheet).
  13. ECI

    Results Trends TV

    Earlier the results were primarily displayed only through the website which used to get updated at certain intervals. There had been minimal interactive platform for direct citizen engagement. Election Commission of India has launched Election Trends TV, on which the graphically-rich micro-details of trends & results are published in real-time. As and when the counting data for each round is entered after officially it's been declared by the Returning Officers, the data is displayed on the Election Trends TV, without any manual intervention using advanced secured technologies. These panels can be customized and configured, for display automatically in public places using large TV Panels by Returning Officers & Chief Electoral Officers. The results trends tv was launched on 24th Oct 2019 Functionality The counting software developed by ECI i.e. ENCORE (Enabling Communications on Real-time Environment) allows Returning Officers to enter counting data which is available through Election Trends TV. Only the Officers involved in Elections and registered in ENCORE for their respective State, District and Constituency and can customize this through their authorized login. The customization can be done to view the results of a complete state or selected Constituencies. The results are shown with the Infographics and displayed with auto-scroll panels through large display screens outside the counting hall or any public place. Outcome This new Arrangement made by Election Commission of India for prompt and accurate dissemination of results has created a milestone in the way of displaying the Election Results in Public places on larger screens. The media houses can now get the results in real-time by viewing the results through the Results Trends Tv.
  14. Earlier, there was a separate Index card application which has to be entered by each of the returning officers. The data from the counting table had to be first migrated into a separate Index card application, and thereafter the data would be edited and corrected to generate the print copy of the index cards. Index card module of ENCORE allows the Returning Officer to fill the Index card online after counting that contains each and every detail of elections from the schedule of elections to the declaration of results. This module helps the Election Commission to generate different statistical reports that are then published on the ECI website for Public view and analysis. Upon the successful launch of Index Card Application, the process of publication and verification has been simplified. The application was launched on 24 May 2019 Functionality Online Index Card Once the counting is completed, each Returning officer fills the Index card online for their respective constituency that contains the complete information of elections like Electors, Voters, Candidates, Party, Votes, Results and Returned candidate etc. Verification of Data The data entered online by Returning officers for their constituency is verified by Chief Electoral Officer and then by the Statistical Division of ECI. The system is designed in such a way that it provides a great help to the verifying officers by showing the exceptions where the data is not entered correctly. Generation of Statistical Reports Different Statistical reports are generated on the verified data of Index card entered in the system. An additional feature is provided where the reports are first generated as a draft to get it verified by the senior officers of ECI and then final Reports are generated and the complete data is frozen and made non-editable. The Reports like Highlights of Elections, Party performance, Constituency wise Voter turnout, List of Participated and Successful Candidates, Party wise seats won etc. are published on ECI website. Outcome The integration of Index card into ENCORE has brought consistency in the publication of final results data. 34 types of statistical reports are generated from the system which is all automated. The Statistical Division gets the portal to cross-check and validate the data before publication.
  15. ECI

    Expenditure Monitoring

    There has been no ICT initiative for the digitisation of the expenditure monitoring system and all the work was previously done manually. For monitoring day to day election expenditure incurred by the candidates, the election expenditure monitoring mechanism has been put in place in each constituency. Maintenance of the day to day account of election expenditure by the candidate is mandatory. Though the account of election expenditure is required to be submitted within 30 days from the date of the declaration of the result, monitoring has to be done on a regular basis during the campaign period so as to properly and correctly account every election expenditure incurred by the candidates and political parties during this period. The Online application of Expenditure provides for capturing of expense by candidate over public meetings, posters, banners, vehicle, and ceiling for candidate expenditure. The application was launched on 24 May 2019. Process Flow Monitor expenditure of candidates/political parties incurred during the election Assessment of abstract statements and the expenditure as shown by the candidate and political parties Verification at District Election Officer (DEO) Level Outcome The application has brought in online mechanism to monitor the funds given by the political party to the candidate, Funds were given by others to the candidate, Expense understated or not, Candidate expenses exceed ceiling amount or not. All the reports are compiled and presented to the officials at ECi for closer monitoring.
  16. ECI

    cVIGIL Portal

    Robust monitoring of cases using the cVIGIL portal allowed the Chief Electoral Officers, Returning Officers and the Commission to investigate delays, incorrect decisions, and recurring instances of lethargy. Assignments of cases: The vigorous case allocation using cVIGIL portal allowed the officers to create a robust response/ redressal system. Real-time status Tracking of field units: Real-time tracking of the field units enforced the time-bound pressure on them, but on the other hand, making sure that they actually reach the location of incidence. One of the fundamental shifts the cVIGIL brought in its 77% success was the GIS based location tagging. For example, the app automatically enabled a geo-tagging feature when users switched on their camera in the cVIGIL to report a violation. This meant that Flying Squads could know the precise location of a reported violation, and the image could be used as evidence in a court of law. Here then is a case where the First Information Report also becomes critical evidence, should a legal process unfold. And, technology-enabled enforcement mechanisms ensured that flying squads were at the site of a reported transgression. Outcome of the application In election management terms, cVIGIL achieved three things: bottom-up enforcement of laws, timely and effective enforcement of those laws, and a preventive rather than reactive enforcement regime. At its core, cVIGIL draws on the idea of community policing encouraging citizens to participate in the enforcement process. It assumes officials need citizens, and a trust-based partnership to properly conduct elections. A mobile application facilitates that partnership by creating awareness, building trust, and confidence. For example, this election saw district election officers publicizing the application, and encouraging its use. Countless reports suggest that this spurred citizens to rethink their role in the electoral process, stay vigilant, and know about what is permissible as part of a campaign, and what is not. From the Commission’s perspective, the application generated invaluable data that draws on embedded actors - people who know their local environment, its most pressing problems and forms of violations, and can accurately report these to officials. Tapping into “local wisdom” and “information pools” has the potential to significantly shape the Commission’s activities, particularly drawing up a priority list of violations that can be used in future enforcement. Moreover, such applications build trust and confidence. As our data suggest, a large proportion of users were willing to file non-anonymous complaints; and re-usage rates indicate they felt their complaints were being acted on. In fact, encouraged by the initial response, the Commission started a “leaderboard” in the app, to identify and reward the most proactive citizens. In a way, this created an incentive for others to also actively use the platform; besides creating reputational benefits for civic-minded users. It is also worth noting that in many cases, ordinary voters raised their voice against local strongmen or influential persons who were flouting the law. Put together, citizens were more aware, had greater trust in institutions, and self-confidence. Not only does cVIGIL act as a potent decision support system tool for election machinery but also ensures participation of common man in conducting free and fair elections. 92% of cases were registered through cVIGIL mode in comparison to other modes such as letters, phone calls or by post. A whopping 99 % of cases were resolved during the 2019 Lok Sabha phase and every case which was resolved through the cVIGIL was informed to the complainant. The application cVIGIL bonded together all election machinery in enforcing Model Code of Conduct violations. The Election Commission was able to directly drill down upto the level of field units. This brought in alertness and quality in disposal of cases. The timelines were enforced by a seamless information technology interface. During the assembly election held at Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana 19,050 total cases were reported and 13,252 total cases were found correct and addressed. During the Lok sabha election 2019, 1,42,270 total cases were reported and 1,10,030 number of total cases were found correct and addressed. During the assembly election held in Maharashtra and Haryana, 9,902 total cases were reported and 7,650 total cases were found correct and addressed.
  17. The usual process for seeking relaxation under Model Code of Conduct has been a manual process. The Ministries / Departments keep on requesting the status of their relaxation requests from the ECI. This creates a disturbance in the processing of the application. While ECI regularly issues notices to MCC violators, there has not been any central database for publications of all such cases. One unified portal for Model Code of Conduct Relaxation Request and Violations publication. The Central Government Ministries / State Government Ministries/departments can directly lodge the Model Code of Conduct relaxation requests online and receive their clearance online. Similarly, the Chief Electoral Officer using the MCC Violation Reporting Portal can digitize the cases of the violations and make it online for public viewing. The application was launched on 3rd April 2019 during Parliamentary Elections of 2019. The MCC portal can be accessed by visiting this portal https://cvigil.eci.gov.in/ Functionality/ Features of the application MCC Relaxations: Users Actions/Responsibilities State Secretaries Case initiator Screening Committee Review the Relaxation cases Drop or Recommend to CEO CEO A/C setup for State Secretaries/ Department and screening committee (Chief Secretary) Drop, Decide, Escalate to ECI ECI Decide, Ask for More Information Process Flow MCC Violations The outcome of the application In Earlier elections, all relaxations and violation cases were handled manually and it was very time-consuming. This portal was introduced during Lok Sabha election 2019. Since inception states secretaries logged 889 relaxation request and central ministries logged total 131 cases so far. Portal received a total of 512 cases for MCC violations since inception and are made available online through the portal.
  18. ECI

    EVM Management System (EMS)

    The Election Commission had been using an outsourced application for the management of EVM machines which was called ETS. This software catered for EVM inventory management and also for randomisation. However, it was not able to cater to the Lok Sabha elections for the randomisation of the machines. EVM Management System is designed to manage inventory of EVM units. Tracking of units from manufacturer to state, state to state, district to district. It handles the whole election processes like marking FLC (First Level Check) OK and Not OK, Randomization (First and Second), Marking and unmarking Election Petition and receiving back units in the system after counting. This application was launched on 25 Feb 2019. Feature EVM Management System is a centralized online tracking system, which keeps track of movement and placement of each machine from its production to its destruction. This application is supplemented by a mobile application, which allows for scanning of the permanently encoded barcode of each machine. Once the machine is manufactured, then it’s digitized into EMS for every entry and all its exit point accounted through barcode. EMS ensures scientific and random allocation of EVMs through the Randomization of the machines first at the Assembly Constituency level and other at the Polling Station level. First Randomization: During the first Randomization, it is decided as to which place a particular set of the machine will go at assembly constituency level. This is done at the DEO level in the presence of political parties. Before finalization of Randomization, Randomization can be done multiple times to ensure the satisfaction of representatives of the political parties. Second Randomization: Similarly, the second Randomization happens after the finalization of candidates. This Randomization is done for each polling station. This also happens in the presence of candidates/ representatives/ political parties. Thus, first & second, both Randomization ensures that there is complete transparency and trust about the machines which are going to be used for polling. The software also helps in tracking all the replacements of units which are allocated for conducting the poll. This helps in keeping records of machines that went in the second Randomization and which actually used in poll, in extend application is maintaining records of replacement at the level of commissioning, dispersal, mock and actual poll. Process Flow Order Generation Manufacturer order Scan process before sending units Scan process before receiving units Order receiving at District Warehouse First Level Check FLC announce by Manufacturer/DEO FLC carries out through temp user FLC ok units will be transferred to Strong room Not ok units will be transferred to the Repair room Randomization Scheduling of the Randomization First Randomization Second Randomization Supplementary Randomization Replacement Replacement of the units during the poll at different levels Undo of the replacement, if required Election Petition Mark EP Unmark EP Outcome The EMS Application had successfully been used for handling complete end to end movement of EVM/VVPAT during the election process of Lok Sabha-2019 and after that continuously being used in all the Assembly elections and bye-elections. The application was customized based on the states/ UTs requirements. It was successfully used for complete first and second Randomization in Lok Sabha-2019, Maharashtra Assembly Election, Haryana Assembly Election, Jharkhand Assembly Election and all the Bye Elections. This has resulted in a redundant process, improved the transaction time and has re-built the confidence of the candidates and political parties and the process of administrative procedure of EVM. Statically application had handled 84,34,422 numbers of transactions in the short duration of 90 days during Lok Sabha Election-19 along with the handling of 70,01,489 machines. The application was successfully used in for 838 numbers of first Randomization and 4,549 numbers of the second Randomization in Lok Sabha-19. EMS Mobile App The erstwhile desktop-based mobile application for scanning the EVM machines was very limited in its use and not well integrated with the core inventory software. This created trouble in integration and scanning. Introduction EMS Mobile App is a core application of EMS, which allows users to scan the permanently encoded barcode of each machine (EVM/VVPAT) while they are in movement. It is used to scan the barcode on EVM/VVPAT at every entry and exit point before movement of these units. This is a vital application which ensures that the EVM machines record are kept up to date, each machine is trackable, any replacement, training and repair are handled securely. This application was launched on 07-March-2019. Features Scanning of Units at Warehouse level to perform below activities: Sending/ Receiving Awareness Units Defective Repaired First Level Check (FLC) AC Level Randomization (First Randomization) PS Level Randomization (Second Randomization) Stock Entry Receive After Poll Loan to SEC Process Flow The task is assigned to send & receive units at sender and receiver’s location Log-in by Temp User after OTP verification The dashboard contains assigned order User clicks on an enabled module to scan units and allocated Units will be shown One by One Scanning of units will decrease the number of units to be scanned The outcome of the application The EMS Mobile App had successfully been used for tracking complete end to end movement of EVM/VVPAT during election process of Lok Sabha-2019 and after that continuously being used in all the Assembly elections and bye-elections.
  19. ECI

    ECI Website

    The Election Commission of India has been focussing on providing relevant content to all the stakeholders through various measures. ECI main website is the first contact point for any citizen who is able to use the internet. The ECI Main website is also the platform which is used by Election Officials from ECI, States and Districts extensively use it for retrieving relevant information. Similarly, the main site is used by Media and Statisticians. The challenge is to bring all the content in a readable manner for all stakeholders. The new website of Election Commission of India (https://eci.gov.in) is completely revamped website featuring a streamlined and simplified design, improved functionality, and enriched content areas which will help visitors to make well-informed decisions regarding their election-related matters. The new website has been built keeping users in mind. The streamlined user interface provides a more interactive experience, allowing users to easily find the information they are looking for. Visitors can browse the website based on their own interests and learn more about Election Process in a more engaging way. The ECI Main website contains an enormous amount of data including everything from history, elections, statistics, photo gallery, current news, press releases, and others. The mobile-optimized ECI site is a far more advanced website which can reformat itself for handheld or tablet devices without the need to be re-written for each. Also, a combination of reformatting and re-optimizing the site as a whole provides practical flexibility beyond imagination. The main website of the ECI was made more accessible with features such as Screen Reader Access, Table Headers, Structured Headings, Friendly URLs, and Alternate Text etc. This made the website content available to persons with disabilities in a very friendly manner. With a number of powerful tools to help users to discover new content, the new website decreases the time users spend searching for relevant content of his choice. A full search engine is included with precise controls for finding. Dynamic Content and Sharing: The new ECI website provides extensive sharing feature through modes such as Email, Facebook, Twitter, and others. Also, the decentralized content deployment ensures accurate and fast dissemination of news, circulars, as well as messages uploaded by each division. The website was launched on 12 November 2018. Features include Responsive Design: The New Website is fully mobile optimized. The mobile-optimized ECI site is a far more advanced website. Mobile optimized means that the ECI site will reformat itself for handheld or tablet devices. Larger navigation buttons, the reformatted content, and differently optimized images appear when the user is on an iPhone/ Android or another device. Not only is the new ECI website mobile optimized, but it is also with a fully responsive design. Responsive design means that the ECI site is completely flexible regardless of device. Rather than detecting a specific browser type or device type, the website automatically orients itself based on the screen size of the device. A combination of reformatting and re-optimizing the site as a whole provides practical flexibility beyond imagination. Revamped and easy navigation: The site has been primarily designed keeping in view Citizens, Electors, Candidates, Political party, Researchers, Media, and ECI Officials. The categorization has also been kept in mind for purposes of easy navigation and role-based access control. The new website has further enhanced the security features keeping in view the Cyber Security Regulations of ECI Advanced search: With a number of powerful tools to help users to discover new content, the new website decreases the time users spend searching for relevant content of his choice. A full search engine is included with precise controls for finding content. With a wide range of filters available and the ability to drill down by content type, finding relevant content is simple. It's convenient too - the quick search box is available on every page. Universally Accessible: The site has been made accessible for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The newly designed website has accessible features like screen reader access, high contrast, structured headings e.t.c Dynamic Content & Sharing: One of the paramount requirements of the modern world is faster information sharing through various social media platforms. The new ECI website provides extensive sharing features through modes such as Email, Facebook, Twitter, and others. The decentralized content deployment will ensure accurate and fast dissemination of news, circulars, and messages. Out Come: The Election Commission of India website is the anchor website catering to all the requirements of all the stakeholders. With the advent of the new website, there has been a better engagement with the voters, easy access to its contents, forms, publications, statistical reports, and integration with various web and mobile applications. The content is uploaded dynamically by the respective divisions of the ECI and has made the information publication much simplified and fast. As of now 10,197 documents are available for downloads and from its launch, it has witnessed 4,255,656 downloads.
  20. ECI

    SVEEP WEBSITE

    The Election Commission of India has put a lot of focus on engaging citizens and voters in an online platform. A requirement was felt for a dynamic website where documents, images, papers and initiatives can be shared by various stakeholders. Election Commission has always placed voter awareness as the primary goal and extensive focus on voter education, enrolment of young voters, promotion of gender equality, and facilitation to Person with Disabilities. By doing so, the use of the new ECI SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) portal, dedicated efforts have been made to provide a platform for interaction or participation in a more constructive manner which includes quizzes, club, forum, gallery, events, and resources along with sharing of success stories. The Portal https://ecisveep.nic.in/ was launched on 3 July 2018. Simultaneously the new SVEEP logo was designed which has been now used for all SVEEP activities across India. SVEEP Portal is committed to the virtue of “No Voter to be Left Behind” and helps the citizens to learn about the election process, besides allowing them to engage with their peer groups. The main features it covers, are Content Management System File sharing Management Discussions Forums (restricted to registered users) Events Management Photo Gallery Management Banner Management across site News Management FAQ Management Newsletter Subscription and Delivery Management Cross Browser Compatibility Restricted Access to Discussion Forums Role based administration WYSIWYG editor Insert media files (files, audio, video) in page content Ability to create unlimited pages Categorisation of pages Page assignment to multiple categories Content scheduling Integrated with Social Media/platforms Outcome: The new portal for SVEEP has brought in the era of digital Voter awareness to the forefront. Similarly, various Chief Electoral Officers use this portal for reporting and uploading of content. All the events especially which are held during National Voters Day are recorded and uploaded to the gallery of the SVEEP portal. Electoral Literacy Clubs are being set up in the country to promote electoral literacy in all age groups of the Indian citizens through engaging and interesting activities and hands-on experience but in an apolitical, neutral and non-partisan manner. 110700 ELC Ids were generated by SNO/DNOs during 2018-2019. The portal has direct interaction with citizens, more than 70000 selfie images were posted during the Lok Sabha Election 2019.
  21. ECI

    RTI Online Portal

    The Department of Personnel & Training has developed the online RTI portal. However, ECI has a unique position where even though the Chief Electoral officers, District Election officers and Electoral Registration Officers are under the State Information Commission, ECI itself is under the Central Information Commission. The fee structure of each State is different and the RTI rules are prescribed separately. Most of the cases from ECI are regarding CEO which need to be transferred. Due to this unique position, there was a need which was felt to have ECI own RTI online portal. Election Commission of India (ECI) had envisaged an Online Portal where Indian citizens can file RTI applications and appeals directly to ECI under Right to Information ACT, 2005. RTI Online Portal is facilitating citizens of India to obtain the information they want from ECI as per the Act. RTI Online Portal allows Indian citizens to pay RTI fees online through a payment gateway by Net Banking via associate banks, Debit/Credit cards of Master/Visa and RuPay cards. This application was launched by ECI on 6 June 2018 and was perhaps the first application which was developed in ECI as part of the 2020 plan. ECI is in a unique position where Chief Electoral officer to whom maximum RTI pertains have State RTI rules but are covered under ECI. Thus having a separate online RTI Portal was a necessity. The backend of handline the RTI application is completed only. The CPIO and First Appellate Authority has the login for disposing the RTI application online without the use of manual disposal. App the type of reports are available from the portal for ECI RTI Nodal Officers, CPIO and First Appellate Authority. The RTI Online Portal is available here: https://rti.eci.nic.in/ Feature Login:- OTP authentication required for login and registration. Profile update:- Profile update is the next step after login on the portal. New RTI:- New RTI tab contains guidelines with mandatory fields. Need to follow the instructions to create a new RTI. RTI Status:- RTI status contains all the RTI status of the logged-in user. First Appeal:- If the applicant has not gotten any response from CPIO, the applicant will get the option to file the first appeal after 30 days from filling date of RTI Application. If CPIO has taken any action then immediate first appeal window will enable however in case of transfer, the third party will get the next 30 days to respond on RTI Application. First appeal window will be activated next 30 days from the day of activation of the first appeal. First Appeal status:- First Appeal status contains the status of RTI which was submitted for the First Appeal. Outcome The RTI online portal of ECI brought in the era of transparency to the next level. As of now 11326 application and 1045 appeals have been filed from the RTI Online Portal. Download this article
  22. In the earlier scenario the registration process for the political party was completely offline with little visibility for the applicants. The Election Commission of India has reviewed the system and process of registration of political parties and decided to implement “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System'' (PPRTMS) through an online portal, to facilitate tracking of the status of the application by applicants. In this Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System the applicant, who is applying for party registration from 1st January 2020 onwards can track the progress of his / her application and get status updates through SMS and email. The URL for tracking the Political party is here: https://pprtms.eci.gov.in/ This application was launched by ECI on 1st January, 2020. Feature ECI’s real-time tracking platform for political parties:- The applicant is required to provide a mobile number and email address of the party/applicant personal information in his application, Applicant can also track the progress of application against their application number and receive the status through SMS and email. Secure and dual verification login for political Parties applicant:- Political Party Applicant can view their application status after two-factor verification OTP verification Application number Non-accessible to other than political parties Applicants. It can be accessed only by the authenticated user and dual verification required for application tracking status. Real-time status of each action taken by ECI Officials. ECI receives the application and converts into digital form through PPRTMS application and thereafter applicant will receive application number through SMS and email during application digitization. Process Flow User authentication through OTP Track the status of the application on the website. Received in ECI Acknowledgement of Application Time-Barred Next to tracking status of the application. Shortcoming/Defect Communication received Publish Public Notices in Newspapers Hearing Scheduled Name change After Hearing Defect Final status of the application Registered Rejected Closed Outcome Political Party application status is the first step towards an online application management system, where the user may know the application status through web application after authentication of mobile number and input of application number. Later full-fledged application will come into force so that political parties can apply directly online.
  23. ECI

    ERO NET

    The form processing has been the core work of the election officials across the nation. There were 36 disparate applications starting from excel to an oracle which were state-specific to manage the electoral registration. Cost: Management of 36 Physical Data centres required 36 service providers with an implicit cost. Smooth migration of elector from one place to other place & Uniqueness of Voter ID resulting in: Existence of multiple entries for the same elector Non-removal of dead and shifted voters Non-availability of the current status of Eroll and individual electors. ERONET is a web-based system for Electoral officials, in 14 languages and 11 scripts, to handle all processes pertaining to Form 6/6A/7/8/8A/001. All 29 States and 7 UTs are sharing common infrastructure at National Level. UNPER (Unified National Photo Electoral Roll) is a common database for all States and UTs with data of 92 crore electors. ERONET standardised forms processing, standard database schema, and a standard template for eroll printing. It automates the process of electoral roll management starting from elector registration, field verification of electors, decision support system for Electoral registration officers and for providing extensive integrated value-added services. Citizens can fill up various online forms on National Voters’ Service Portal, nvsp.in or by using voter helpline mobile application. The form is processed thereafter in ERONET. The applicant also gets periodical alerts and notifications on each activity performed at ERONET. ERO-Net application is available pan India, to all citizens of India for enrollment/ corrections/migration from Electoral Roll. The application on the backend is available for the Election commission of India, all Chief Electoral Officers, District Election Officers, Electoral Roll Officers and Booth Level Officers. The application handles data of 92 crore electors and is used for printing of Electoral Rolls in state-specific vernacular languages. The application aims to handle all eligible electors above 18 years. Before the implementation of ERONet ( Centralized Software for Electoral Roll Management and Form Processing), Each State was using ERMS software for state-specific ERoll Management and Form Processing. The ERONET has been designed and developed keeping in mind the need of Centralized form Processing and monitoring the work of all the Officials involved in Form Processing. For this single unified Database was created and all the existing ER data were migrated to it from State-Specific databases. This created UNPER. The centralized Form Entry was made online via NVSP and all the State portals were closed thereby making data entry smooth into the system. Further Role-based access for form processing was finalized and this allowed Officials involved in the processing of the form to mandatory process the form through their own Login thus by creating accountability by means of audit trails maintained in the System. The Application handles close to 8 crore forms per year for New Inclusion/ Change of Demographic Details/ Migration and Deletion from Electoral Roll of India. It was launched in Jan 2018. Features: Online Form Processing The applicant submits the form online at nvsp.in and on completion of the same gets the SMS/ email alert. Thereafter ERO/ AERO check the application for the process further. Maintenance of Health of Electoral Roll Among the major laws governing elections is the Representation of the People Act, 1950, which mainly deals with the preparation and revision of the electoral rolls. Publishing of electoral rolls is a key process that happens before the elections and is vital for the conduct of elections in India. Family Information The entry in E-Roll is linked to family information. The polling booth is allocated keeping in view that the whole family can vote at the same location. ERO can view your family details before assigning parts and sections, thus deciding your voting booth. EPIC Portability Migration from one constituency to another while retaining the same EPIC number: ERO-Net facilitates easy migration from one constituency to another by facilitating seamless communication between the EROs of two constituencies. De-duplication is also taken care of while including entries in the E-Roll. Offline Form Processing The data entry operator fills forms data in ERO-Net. AERO allocates jobs for Data Entry Operator and generates QR Code data file. ERONET was further enhanced with alert and monitoring facilities were added at the level of ERO, DEO, CEO & ECI level, along with Suo moto action for EROs and processing for removal of logical errors and DSE Digitization of Forms Received Offline Online system of Form Processing Objective field verification E-ROLL management with Unique EPIC Number Generation Synchronization of E-Roll at National Level Generation of Reports, Notifications Alerts Monitoring Dashboards Printing of electoral roll from ERONET for all states Printing of Photo Voter Slip Printing of EPIC Cards Outcome The application provided a seamless interface and one-stop for the citizens to apply for voter registration-related services. The voter now can easily track their application. Once the new registration is processed, the user is intimated online through portal/SMS. The citizens now do not need to visit any election offices for any electoral process. Therefore considerable reduction of time. The Election Commission of India provides electoral services free of cost, thus accepting duplicate voter ID Card all the services are free. Hits on NVSP depend upon elections. During general elections, 2019 more than 2 crore daily hits were recorded for searching for names in the electoral roll. Since the launch of ERONet Jan 2018, a total 90 crore electors were served for 18.9 crore forms, 7. 8 crore Additions and Migration, 1.9 crore Overseas voters, 3.7 Crore Deletions and Objections, 6.78 crore Corrections and 44 lacs Transpositions). Another achievement is marking 62 lacs electors as PWD in Electoral Roll. Recently Elector Verification Program (EVP) on ERONet recorded daily Verification forms of average 80 lacs for a period of 90 days continuously. Total 78 crore Electors have submitted their application for verification
  24. ECI

    ETPBS

    The postal ballot paper to the service voters was sent by the Returning Officer after printing the ballot for each and every service voter of the Constituency, and then put it in an envelope inscribed with the address of the Record Office of each service voters. This takes a lot of resources, efforts and time, thus increasing the chance of mistake, since each ballots need to be printed and put in the correct envelope. Since, the last part of electoral roll was not upto date, therefore, the Record Officer faced a challenge in identifying the present place of posting of the service voter thus failing in delivering the postal ballot to the concerned service voters in time. This led to low turnout of the service voters of about 3-4% in the General Election to Lok Sabha 2014. Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) is the one-way electronic transmission of the Postal ballots to the Service Voters. The Service Voter then cast their vote and send it to the respective returning officer via Post. The complete process is secured by way of multiple checks and transmission protocol to ensure safe transmission. Upon receipt of the postal ballot at the counting centres, the returning officer validates the receipt by a series of QR codes with that of the transmitted system. This application was launched on 21st Oct 2016. Functionality Returning Officer generates ballot paper electronically by a specific desktop application. The list of the candidates is punched along with their party names. This ballot then gets encrypted in the system is ready to be sent. The first functionality is the ability to generate the postal ballot online for transmitting through ETPBS. Through ETPBS system, the ballots are automatically assigned to Service Voters based upon their constituency and get then gets transmitted. The unit officer downloads the Postal ballots on behalf of the service voter. These downloaded ballots will be password protected. The downloaded Postal Ballot can now be e-transmitted / hand-delivered using their secured network/infrastructure to the individual service voters. The PIN will be transmitted/ dispatched to the individual service voters by the Record Officer to ensure that the downloaded Postal Ballot is opened by the concerned service voter only. Thus ETPBS transmits the Postal ballot from the returning officer to the service voters electronically by a series of security protocol. Process Flow The outcome of the application In 2019, 10,84,266 e postal ballots were received through Electronic transmission indicating 60.14% turnout, which is a significant improvement compared to 2014 when turnout was only 4% of service voters turnout. Persons working in Central Forces under Arms Act and Government officials deployed in Embassies outside the country are, classified as Service Voters and are provisioned for online enrolment. Out of the total number of Service Electors, 10, 16,245 were from Ministry of Defence, 7,82,595 from Ministry of Home Affairs Central Armed Police Forces), 3539 of Ministry of External Affairs and State Police 267. In the seven phases spanning Parliamentary elections of 2019, total 18,02,646 postal ballots were dispatched electronically using the ETPBS.
  25. The difficulties and hardships encountered by the service voters, especially by the armed forces and Police personnel serving at the border and remote areas of the country and the service personnel working under the Government of India in missions abroad, have been receiving the attention of the Commission in recent times. Many associations of such wings also approached the Election Commission with a view to mitigating the difficulties faced by service voters in the matter of registering and exercising their franchise. Preparation of the last part of the electoral roll was not happening properly due to which there were duplicate service voters, no provision for deletion was provided and the address of the record office was also not updated periodically. The entire process of registration was manual and lengthy. The purpose of the online Service Voter Registration Portal system is to provide convenience and easy-to-use portal for Defence Personnel, employed under the Government of India and member of an Armed Police Force of a State and serving outside that state. The system allows registration and acceptance of forms for Service Voter. Through this online system, District Election Officer assigns the Assembly Constituency to Service Voter, then the form processed by Electoral Registration Officer. Their names are registered in the last part of the electoral roll. The data of service voter is maintained by ECI and the request for registration is submitted by the Record Officer. This application was launched on 14th July 2017. The portal can be accessed from the online link here: http://servicevoter.nic.in/ Functionality Processing of electoral forms Maintain last part of electoral rolls Communication between EROs across ACs and States Simultaneous addition and deletion process Connected with a single source of online forms acceptance (through servicevoter.nic.in), it provides real-time monitoring of the progress of the form processing (Status of the forms submitted) In case of deletion, proper records of deletion, notices are generated, issued and notice served details are captured. Easy to use Dashboard for DEOs, CEOs, ECI officials and EROs themselves for single window view and dashboard for Nodal, Record and Unit Officer to view the status of registration. Draft and Final roll of the last part is automated and is available under CEO and ERO logins on the day of the draft and final publication. The outcome of the application Compared to 13,27,627 number of registered Service Electors of last General Election in 2014, a record highest number of 18,02,646 were enrolled as Service Electors through online registration with the dedicated portal. For the first time a full-fledged online registration portal for service electors saved processing time, resources and human errors. Out of the total number of Service Electors, 10,16,245 were from the Ministry of Defence, 7,82,595 from Ministry of Home Affairs Central Armed Police Forces), 3539 of Ministry of External Affairs and 267 were from state police.

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