Voters could soon be able to book a preferred time-slot in which they would want to cast their votes during elections. With an eye on tackling urban apathy amongst voters and making a serious bid to get more people out of their homes to go to the polling stations to vote, the Election Commission is mulling the possibility of introducing this system. “The idea of letting voters book a time-slot is being deliberated upon,” Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said. A system could be put into place where voters may be given the facility of calling or SMSing to a designated number to book one of the several time-slots on offer on a given voting day. Those who use the facility could be given a reference number that they would need to show to avail of the facility at the booth, EC officials said. A pre-booked time-slot would ensure that a voter gets to vote at the time of his choice without having to stand in a queue, officials added.
The idea is to essentially encourage voters—particularly in urban areas—to go up to the polling booths and vote. “Often, we see that a substantial chunk of urban voters don’t step out to vote fearing long queues at the polling station. A system that can enable them to pick a time-slot of their choice and vote without having to stand in a queue would be a great way to encourage them to vote,” an EC official said. The idea, EC officials said, is still at the drawing-board stage and may take some fine-tuning before being rolled out.
Several similar measures to tackle urban voter apathy have been attempted by the EC over the past few elections. In Chandigarh, for instance, the use of “Queue Monitoring System” enabled voters to actually check the length of the queue at their respective polling stations before stepping out to vote during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
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