EC rolls out digital voter I-cards

EC rolls out digital voter I-cards

New Delhi: In a major move aimed at making electoral roll more transparent and accessible, the Election Commission on Monday rolled out the electronic version of the voters' photo identity card on the National Voters' Day. The electronic voter ID cards can be stored on mobile phones and downloaded on personal computers. The e-voter card, available in the PDF format which cannot be edited, can be self-printed and laminated by the voter when required.

With its formal launch on Monday, electors in poll-bound West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry can use e-voter card on polling days. Elections are due in these states and the union territory in April-May.

As per the EC, the conventional physical voter (PV) card would continue to be in use.

While launching the e-EPIC programme, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad distributed e-EPICs and elector photo identity cards to five new voters to mark the National Voters' Day.

At the launch, the Law Minister said, "Technology not only empowers but also enables and facilitates. The electronic voting machine is the instrument which has given power to nearly all the political formations of India. Any instrument designed to empower ordinary Indians in the mark of democracy must be welcomed."

However, while batting for the EVM, Prasad said, "We can have a difference of opinion on the use of the electronic voting machine, but can we deny that the EVM is an instrument which has given power to nearly all the political formations of India in different parts, in varying degree."

The e-elector photo identity card is a non-editable digital version of the elector photo identity card and can be saved in facilities such as digital locker as well as can be printed in the PDF format.

The physical card takes time to print and reach the voter, and the idea is to provide faster delivery and easy accessibility to the document, EC officials said.

Apart from voter ID cards, Aadhaar card, permanent account number (PAN) card and driving licence are also available in digital mode.

Introduced in 1993, the elector photo identity cards are acceptable as proof of identity and address.

As the law minister, leaders from some political parties and the Election Commission top officials were present at the event, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the gathering through video conference and launched EC's web radio Hello Voters, which an online digital radio service that will stream voter awareness programmes.

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