10,000 booths to have stand-alone recording done on laptops

The State election authorities, satisfied with their experience of carrying out webcasting of polling during the 2011 Assembly elections, have decided to step up their operations for the Lok Sabha polls.

This time, 20,000 polling booths are going to be covered for webcasting with live relay of polling while 10,000 booths will have the system of stand-alone recording done on laptops, according to Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar.

Three years ago, live webcasting was done in 9,779 booths and stand-alone recording in 5,239 booths, totalling 15,018 polling booths.

Though the Election Commission prescribed that webcasting be made available in the public domain, Mr Praveen Kumar said that this may not be workable in view of greater chances of the server getting crashed following a high volume of traffic on the Net. Instead, representatives of candidates would be allowed to view webcasting at the offices of District Election Officers.

Asked whether the media would also be permitted, the CEO replied that it was subject to the approval of the Election Commission.

Pointing out that the State had 60,418 polling booths, he says that apart from webcasting, there are three ways - through Central Police Force or micro observers or videography - which polling could be monitored. Webcasting would cover all booths identified as critical. As of now, there were 9,430 such booths.

Referring to the utility of stand-alone recording, Mr Praveen Kumar recalled that it was only through this method that the authorities found that polling agents in a booth in Puliyampatti of the Sankarankoil Assembly constituency, Tirunelveli district, had vitiated the atmosphere and violated the secrecy of voting by helping some electors cast their vote. Eventually, a re-poll had to take place there.

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