Online polling for Kerala diaspora tough: Official

Thiruvananthapuram, July 16 (IANS) A Kerala poll official on Thursday said the cabinet’s recommendation to grant online voting rights to the thousands of state diaspora for the upcoming local bodies poll will be “tough” to implement.

“It’s easier said than done,” a poll official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS. He said there were many complexities involved in making it a reality.

New local bodies are required to assume office latest by November 1, and hence polls are likely to take place in October.

The biggest hurdle is that there is no successful model to replicate, the official said. He said Gujarat adopted an online voting facility, but there are flaws in it.

“In our local bodies polls, there are likely to be around 23,000 wards and more than 75,000 candidates. And we will get just under three-weeks’ time to upload the e-ballot.

“It’s a tough act. The complexities include on how to go about it,” the official said.

He said one way could be by generating a one time password (OTP), but it will “cost a huge sum”.

There are other issues such as maintaining secrecy and monitoring the process.

Poll officials will take this up with the National Informatics Centre in coming days and seek advice on how and where to start.

The fact that there is no exact figure about the exact number of the Kerala diaspora has added to their troubles. Recent studies by the Centre of Development Studies have put this number to around 2.3 million.

“Of this, the names of just around 10,000 people appear on the electoral list. We expect to bring out the final electoral rolls by the third week of September,” added the official.


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