Chandigarh: Armed forces personnel will be able to caste their votes by using electronic postal ballot facility for the first time in the country in the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls, state Chief Electoral Officer V K Singh said on Tuesday.
The state election office hopes that with the use of e-ballot means, the voting percentage by armed forces may jump to 70-80 per cent as against usual percentage of 2-3 per cent.
"Electronic postal ballot facility will be introduced for the defence forces for the first time in the country in coming Punjab Assembly polls," Singh said.
He said that the ballot paper would be sent through electronic means to the respective armed units.
Under this facility, defence voters could download the blank ballot paper and after marking their preference, ballot papers would be sent back to the respective Returning Officers (RO) through post, officials said.
This e-ballot facility will greatly benefit defence voters who have been posted at far-flung and border areas, besides reducing delay in receipt of the marked postal ballot by the ROs, they said.
"Their votes will reach within five days," Singh said. Singh informed that there were about 1.10 lakh registered defence service voters in Punjab.
"With the use of e-ballot facility, the voting percentage can go up to 70-80 per cent," he said.
The Centre had accepted the recommendation of the Election Commission of India regarding the e-ballot facility for service voters, including armed personnel posted at border areas in order to save valuable time.
The Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi during his visit to Chandigarh in October this year in connection with preparation of electoral machinery for upcoming polls, had said that service voters posted at border areas could use e-ballot facility for the first time in Punjab to promote inclusive participation in election process.
Zaidi had then said that most of service voters could not go to their polling stations as they were posted outside.