Maha polls: 1.17 lakh service voters to use ETPBS system


Mumbai: The number of service voters who would get an electronically transmitted postal ballot ahead of the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly polls stood at over 1.17 lakh, the Election Commission said on Sunday.

Service voters include members of armed forces, police forces of the states serving outside that state as well as persons employed under the Union government on posts outside the country.

As per existing arrangements, members of Army, Navy and Air force, Border Road Organisation, BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles, NSG, CRPF, CISF and SSB are eligible to be registered as service voters.

The EC on Sunday said it would send Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to 1,17,581 service voters posted outside Maharashtra, comprising 1,14,496 male and 3,085 women voters.

The system was first used successfully in an election in Puducherry in 2016, it said.

Satara had highest 12,658 ETPBS voters and Ahmedanagar stood second with 10,258, while Palghar made up the rear with just 310, it said.

As per the EC mechanism, designated officials receive the ballots from the constituency, which is then downloaded after verification, the process involving use of a one-time password (OTP).

Once the ballot is received, the voter casts the vote and returns the ballot in a sealed envelope to his seniors, an EC official said.

All such postal ballots are delivered to respective Assembly segments to be opened on the day of counting, he added.

According to EC, the ETPBS has two security layers, and secrecy of voting is maintained through the use of OTP and PIN and no duplication of casted ETPB is possible due to a unique QR (Quick Response) Code.

Through this system, service voters cast their vote on an electronically received postal ballot from anywhere outside their constituency. (PTI)