EC sounds poll bugle; kicks off updation of electoral rolls in J&K

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has initiated the preparations for forthcoming State Assembly Elections in the States of Haryana, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand with the updation of the electoral rolls in these states w.r.t. July 1, 2024, as the qualifying date. The term of the existing Legislative Assemblies in the three states are going to end on 03.11.2024, 26.11.2024, and 05.01.2025 respectively and elections to these Legislative Assemblies are required to be conducted before the completion of their terms.

Besides, the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of UT of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is also to be conducted for constituting a new house after delimitation of Constituencies. Witnessing the huge participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the recently concluded Lok Sabha Elections, the Commission has also directed for the updation of the electoral rolls in the UT of J&K with July 1, 2024, as the qualifying date. It may be recalled that CEC     Rajiv Kumar in the last press conference had remarked that “the story of huge participation in Lok Sabha elections by people of J&K is very hopeful and inspiring, showing how eager people are to participate in democracy. People must stay peaceful and united, fulfilling their aspirations and decide their future and governance. The Commission is excited and gratified to help make this happen and will soon start the Assembly election process in J&K”.

The last Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls was conducted in all the States and UT w.r.t. 1st January 2024 as the qualifying date. After the amendment in Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 by the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 the provision of four qualifying dates in a year is available now. Accordingly, the Commission, to provide ample opportunity to all eligible and unenrolled citizens to get themselves enrolled in the electoral roll and thereby get the chance to vote in the upcoming elections, has decided to conduct 2nd Special Summary Revision (SSR) of Electoral Rolls w.r.t. 01.07.2024 in the states of Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and UT of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Commission firmly believes that pure, inclusive, and updated electoral rolls are the foundation of free, fair, and credible elections. To ensure the fidelity of the electoral roll, the Commission is giving special emphasis on the conduct of intensive pre-revision activities before the publication of the draft electoral roll.

The Commission has been endeavoring to rationalization of the polling stations to bring the polling stations nearer to even smaller habitation for the convenience of voters and, at the same time eliminate the scope of intimidation, silent or otherwise, which inhibits the free exercise of voting rights. With the same intent, the Commission before the Lok Sabha elections 2024 vide its instructions dated 22nd September 2023 had directed the Chief Electoral Officers of all the States/UTs for the setting up of polling stations at locations most convenient to electors in the High Rise/Group Housing societies, slum dwelling clusters in an urban area and also where outgrowth has taken place in the expanding urban/semi-urban/rural areas. It has been experienced during the recently held Lok Sabha elections that there was a substantial-high percentage of voting turnout in such polling stations in comparison to the polling stations set up apart from the residential societies, etc. Therefore, the Commission once again directed CEOs of these states/UT to conduct an extensive survey during the ongoing exercise of rationalization of polling stations to identify those urban areas where Group Housing Societies and high-rise residential buildings are located have adequate rooms/common facilitation areas/community halls/schools to set up a polling station to cater to the resident electors, after following the due procedure.

Improvement of image quality ensuring good quality photographs, by replacing blurred, poor quality, and not-to-specification and non-human images in the roll, wherever necessary.

The Commission’s intensive and sustained focus has always been on ensuring inclusivity, purity, and health of the electoral roll so that no eligible citizen is deprived of their right to be included in the electoral roll and to maintain an error-free electoral roll without any duplicate and ineligible entries, to the extent possible. Therefore, the Commission appeals to all eligible citizens to come forward to get themselves enrolled in the electoral roll, if not enrolled so far, to exercise their voting rights in the forthcoming elections.

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