EC extends suggestion date on Working Groups’ recommendation

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    New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The Election Commission on Thursday extended for one month the deadline of receiving comments and suggestions from citizens on the main recommendation of Working Groups on various aspects of electoral management in the backdrop of lockdown measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread.

    The national poll watchdog issued an order regarding the extension of the date which has been extended from March 31 to April 30.

    The commission took the decision following some representations received to extend the deadline in view of the current situation of lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 in the country.

    A 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24 midnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to break the chain of transmission of the deadly novel coronavirus disease.

    “Some representations have been received to extend the deadline in view of the current situation of lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 in the country. The commission has considered the same and extended the deadline of receiving the comments to April 30, 2020,” the Commission said in its order.

    The Election Commission on March 7 had invited comments and suggestions from citizens and stakeholders on the main recommendation of Working Groups on various aspects of electoral management until March 31.

    The poll panel had set up a total of nine working groups after the Lok Sabha elections to make suggestions on different topics such as electoral roll issues, polling station management, poll expenditure, Model Code of Conduct and voting processes.

    These groups had senior officers of the Commission and Chief Electoral Officers of different states as members.

    On March 7, the Election Commission made some of their recommendations public to seek feedback. The pitch for online registration of all prospective voters at the age of 17 has been justified on the ground that it will help in the “smooth transition” of a young citizen into the electoral roll the moment she becomes eligible. The group has called for registration facilities to be set up in schools and colleges.

    Another recommendation for the Commission is to explore the feasibility of alternative voting methods to increase the participation of migrant voters.

    On the suggestion to allow candidates contesting an election to file their nomination online, the working groups have said: “Creating online facility for filing nomination will help in avoiding errors and will ease the process of filing nomination.”

    –IANS

    rak/rt