Election technology should focus on access, says CEC

Cites growing participation of women in Indian elections

Published - November 26, 2021 07:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Friday urged election management bodies (EMBs) across the world to focus on accessibility when adopting any technology or service for elections, during an international webinar organised by the Election Commission of India.

Speaking on enhancing the participation of women, persons with disabilities (PwD) and senior citizen voters, Mr. Chandra said women had faced challenges in participating in elections in India earlier. Now, after seven decades and 17 General Elections, women’s participation had outdone that of men.

Also Read: National Family Health Survey says women outnumber men

“In fact India has witnessed a 235.72% increase in female electors since the 1971 elections,” the ECI statement said.

Mr. Chandra said the postal ballot facility for certain categories of voters, including those above 80 years of age, PwDs and COVID -affected electors, introduced in 2020 had been implemented in six Assembly elections.

“He highlighted that, in the last five State Assembly elections, 4.5 times higher electors participated in the electoral process through postal ballots and there is scope for widening the outreach and facilitation efforts,” the ECI said.

He urged the participants of the webinar, which was organised to mark the end of Mr. Chandra’s two-year tenure as chairman of the Association of World Election Bodies, to have an “accessibility focus” in the design of technologies or services, rather than adding it later as an afterthought.

Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar spoke of the ECI’s effort to map over 7.7 million PwD votesr, which was an increase of 15.28% from the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey added that the ECI was committed to inclusive electoral practices.

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