Opposition to EC's remote voting machine to affect migrants

The objections by 16 opposition parties to the Election Commission‘s (EC) proposal to introduce a remote voting machine (RVM) is unfortunate. The proposal would allow people to vote without having to travel to the state in which they are registered.

It is an important measure to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to cast their vote. Concerns raised by political parties and other stakeholders must be addressed and the integrity of the process assured. Rather than oppose, the opposition parties should engage to ensure a robust system.

The proximate driver for the RVM are migrant workers. The EC’s proposal will make it possible for anyone who lives outside the state in which they are registered to exercise their franchise in another state. Therefore, the arguments by the Opposition that difficulties of establishing a definition for migrant workers would render this system problematic has little basis.

In opposing the move, the Opposition led by the Congress is supporting the functional disenfranchisement of a large group of people, particularly poor migrant workers. At a conservative estimate, India has about 400 million migrant workers. For the most part, migrant workers have to make the tough choice between giving up their poorly paid daily wage work and exercising their right to vote.

The EC is taking the right steps to address the concerns raised. It is no different from the efforts it made with the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVM).

The EC should also discuss the measures it proposes to ensure the integrity of the process and the votes. The EC’s efforts to ensure that everyone is able to cast their vote is commendable. Hopefully, the Opposition will see the error of its ways and give up its agenda of disenfranchising the poor.


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