K'taka polls: EC introduces 450 pink booths, high-tech EVMs across state
Bengaluru: As Karnataka votes to elect a new government in the state, the Election Commission has taken a few new initiatives for the assembly election this time. In what is being termed as a "women-oriented" step, the poll panel has set up 450 "pink booths" which are being managed entirely by women. These pink booths have been given the name 'Sakhi' which means friend.
In a first, the Election Commission has also introduced the latest third-generation Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), which has the latest tamper-proof, hack-proof technology to ensure absolutely no chance of any foul play. The step is being seen as a symbolic one as the latest third-generation EVMs with VVPAT have been introduced in Bengaluru and Karnataka, considered the country's IT hub.
These steps have been taken with an aim to achieving a voting percentage of 75. In the previous assembly election in the state in 2013, the overall voter turnout had been 72 per cent. The poll panel is aiming to achieve more than this.
To promote the role of women in the election process, and to send the message of women empowerment, the Election Commission came up with the idea of the "pink booths". These voting booths, the poll panel said, are "entirely managed by women, right from the returning officer to the security personnel."
To encourage more locals to vote in tribal areas, the Election Commission has also set up ethnic polling booths in Mysuru, Chamarajnagar and Uttar Kannada districts where polling booths match the lifestyle of tribal masses living there. Like in every election, each of these booths is equipped with facilities such as wheelchairs for the differently-abled to exercise their franchise easily.
Speaking about the new third-generation tamper-proof, hack-proof EVMs with VVPAT, officials told news agency PTI that the poll panel chose five assembly constituencies in Bengaluru -- Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthinagar, Gandhi Nagar and Rajaji Nagar -- to introduce these latest EVMs on a pilot basis.
However, voting for Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwari Nagar has been deferred because of large scale malpractices and a controversy over seizure of more than 9,750 fake voter ID cards from an apartment in the constituency.
As reported by news agency PTI, the new EVM machine, according to sources in the office of the chief electoral officer, has features like display of battery status and digital certification. The machine can report about a malfunction on its own, they said.
New and enhanced security features have been added to EVMs after an outcry about the alleged vulnerability of voting machines. To reassure critics about the high safety standards of voting machines, the Election Commission came up with the new 'M3 EVMs' that are guaranteed to be tamper proof and stops working as soon as an attempt is made to tamper with it.