EC mulling increase in polling hours for general elections

According to highly-placed sources, EC is working on an increased polling time schedule and is likely to decide on the matter in a day or so.

The full Commission comprising chief election commissioner VS Sampath and election commissioners HS Brahma and Nasim Zaidi on Monday discussed the issue with top poll officials and are learnt to have given the go-ahead to the proposal.

While the polling duration currently is of nine hours, EC is seeking an increase in the same by an hour.

EC feels that since the elections will be held in summer, more electors will turn up to vote towards the evening when the weather cools. That would likely lead to long queues at polling stations as voting draws to a close.

The proposal to increase polling hours comes in the wake of increased voter turnout in recent assembly polls across the country during which long queues were witnessed at polling stations till late in the evening.

Polling is generally held from 8 am to 5 pm, while it starts at 7 am in the north-eastern and hill states.

A total of 81.4 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which begin on 7 April and end on 12 May. Counting will be held on 16 May.

Of these voters, a total of about 10 crore are those whose names have been newly added on electoral rolls. The last Lok Sabha polls had a grand total of 71.3 crore electors who were eligible to vote.
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