Among the many milestones recorded by Election Commission of India during the recently concluded Lok Sabha Election 2019, Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) is one of its kind. Compared to 13,27,627 number of registered Service Electors of last General Election in 2014, a record highest number of 18,02,646 were enrolled as Service Electors in 2019 in the world’s largest democratic election process. For the first time enabled through the dedicated portal https://www.servicevoter.eci.nic.in online registration, the service voters were sent postal ballots electronically one way to save processing time, resources and avoid human errors.
Persons working in Central Forces under Arms Act and Government officials deployed in Embassies outside the country are classified as Service Voters and are provisioned for online enrolment. Out of the total number of Service Electors in 2019 General Elections, 10,16,245 were from Ministry of Defence; 7,82,595 from Ministry of Home Affairs (Central Armed Police Forces); 3539 of Ministry of External Affairs and State Police 267. In the seven phases spanning GE 2019, a total of 18,02,646 postal ballots were dispatched electronically using the flagship IT programme – ETPBS of Election Commission of India. In return 10,84,266 e-postal ballots were received indicating 60.14% turnout.
ETPBS is a fully secured system, having two security layers. Secrecy of voting is maintained through the use of OTP and PIN and no duplication of casted ETPB is possible due to the unique QR Code in the portal https://www. etpbs.in. Through this system the service voters cast their vote on an electronically received postal ballot, from anywhere outside their constituency, thus reducing the chances of losing the voting opportunity. The purpose of the online system was to create convenient and easy-to-use online system for Defense Personnel to become Service Voters. Service Voter turnout in 2014 was only 4%.
With the motto of “no voter to be left behind”, Election Commission of India’s ETPBS has empowered and ensured all eligible service electors with their constitutional power to vote while performing their duty for the nation.