2.56 crore voters to cast ballot in Kerala: EC

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 4 (IANS) Around 2.56 crore voters are eligible to cast their ballot in the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala, the Election Commission announced on Thursday.

There are 1.23 crore male voters and 1.33 females in the current voters list till January 14, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters, adding that the process of including new voters will continue for 10 days before the notification comes out.

Zaidi said 6.18 lakh new voters in the age group 18-21 have been included.

There has been an overall increase of 3.88 lakh new voters from the last revision.

The Election Commission team held meetings with various groups, including leaders of political parties, district collectors, and police officials as part of the preparations for the assembly polls to be held soon.

“Our motto this time is no voter should be left out. I have asked my officials to see that not only should maximum people be included in the voters list, but also to ensure that the recent average turnout in polls that stands at 74 percent is increased through their efforts,” said Zaidi.

Elections to the 140-member assembly would be held in 21,498 polling stations.

“There will be 500 model polling stations, and in 17 constituencies voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) would be made available, which would enable the voter to countercheck if he has cast the vote for the candidate of his choice,” said Zaidi.

He said the Election Commission will be relying on IT through several new apps.

“Requests from political parties and candidates that require speedy clearances from officials, like permission for helicopters, and other such requests would be done online and permission granted in 24-36 hours,” said Zaidi.

Asked whether any mechanism would be available to the large number of non-resident Keralites to exercise their franchise, he said they have recommended for proxy voting besides online voting and they were waiting to hear from the concerned authorities who were looking into this.

He said officials have been asked to take special care to monitor if voters were being bribed and also if there is any ‘paid news’.

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