EC holding conference to share experiences from recent Assembly polls

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With an aim to share experiences and learnings from recently-held five Assembly elections, the Election Commission on Thursday launched a conference of all Chief Electoral Officers of the states and Union Territories.

During the two-day symposium, there will be thematic discussions on election planning, expenditure monitoring, electoral rolls, IT applications, data management, EVMs/VVPATs, timely resolution of grievances, SVEEP strategy and voter outreach, and media and communication.

Addressing the gathering, CEC Sushil Chandra said that such conferences are an excellent platform for sharing experiences and learning from each other. While complimenting the Chief Electoral Officers, he further said that these five states’ elections conducted amidst the pandemic were exemplary and had no previous examples or references.

The extraordinary circumstances demanded extraordinary solutions from banning physical rallies, promoting digital campaigning and weekly reviewing the situation with critical stakeholders, he said.

The CEC stressed on the need to continuously upgrade the services for voters through the entire election process, right from registration to voting.

Noting that the CEOs are the face of the Commission in the states, he exhorted them to ensure that they are accessible and visible to all stakeholders.

He also urged CEOs to strengthen their outreach and communication to showcase their best practices and innovations in election management to the world.

Sushil Chandra also praised Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, who has been appointed as new Chief Election Commissioner, and hoped that the poll panel, attains greater heights under his leadership.

In his remarks, Rajiv Kumar said that with the mandate provided by the Constitution, the EC has developed extremely robust internal mechanisms and practices to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair, accessible and participative manner for each and every voter.

Narrating his experiences of conducting elections for the first time amidst the pandemic in Bihar till the recent Assembly elections in five states, he said that the journey has been full of challenges and learnings in a most unprecedented situation demanded dynamic decision making and pre-empting the misinformed narratives.

He also said that the technology has been leveraged in a big way to enhance the accessibility and transparency of the election system. The EC has streamlined the entire IT infrastructure with focus on three critical stakeholders, namely voters, political parties and election management functionaries, he said, and urged CEOs to strengthen their IT systems including training of the IT personnel for adapting to the latest advancements.

Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey highlighted the agenda for CEOs for next few months including arranging logistics in states for upcoming elections for the office of President.

He said that CEOs should utilise this lean period to strengthen and upgrade the fundamental features of the election system including updating the electoral rolls, infrastructure upgradation at polling stations, EVM-VVPAT storage and maintenance and training and capacity building of officials. He also asked CEOs to implement innovative SVEEP strategies to better connect with the voter.

The CEOs of the five states, where polls were held, gave a brief presentation about their experiences, learnings and innovative practices they adopted during these elections.

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