Every voter to be photographed in polling booth before casting vote

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IMPHAL, Jan 16: In a unique measure to prevent impersonation of voters and multiple voting at the coming assembly elections, the Election Commission will photograph every single voter before enabling them the ballot and follow it up with scrupulous comparison of the photograph count with the votes polled at each polling station.

No counting of assembly constituency is to be undertaken until the returning officers complete the comparisons which are stipulated to be over within one week of the poll or by-poll.

Revealing that the introduction of framing the images of the public turning out to vote has been taken based on feedbacks from political parties among others, the commission has sent a strong order to the state election commission to carry out wide publicity for dissemination of the news of its programme.

An intimation of the order was sent to the state chief electoral officers some days back accompanied with detailed directions on the procedures to be followed while filming, synchronization of the photograph count in tandem with marking in the electoral roll, storage and evaluation of counts and contingency plans in case any mismatches are encountered.

According to the EC direction, a digital camera will be installed in each polling station of the state for the purpose of taking photographs of the voters. An additional copy of the photo electoral roll will be provided to the polling officer No. 3 for recording the image numbers in the camera on the roll sheet.

The photographs are to be taken after the routine marking of the fingers with indelible ink, only after completion of which the person can get passage to the voting compartment to cast his vote.

At the close of voting, the presiding officers will carry out the task of recording the total numbers of votes cast and total number of photograph taken at their respective stations.

Thereafter, the cameras, pasted with stickers where numbers of the polling station have been marked for easy identification, are to be deposited at the receipt centre at the time of handing over the electronic voting machines (EVM) and election documents. 

Scrutiny of presiding officers’ diaries of an assembly constituency takes place only after all photographs have been counted polling station wise.

In case any mismatch in the numbers of votes polled and the photograph count at a particular polling station is observed, the RO and election observer will be brought into the picture. They will conduct the investigation to ascertain the cause of the differences and report it to the commission specifying their reasons. 

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