India launches crowd-sourced election roll update

The Indian Election Commission’s crowd-sourced electoral roll update, the Electors Verification Programme (EVP), has launched across the country, with the Economic Times reporting that a voter in each family will be given a username and password to upload documents for registration.

Details entered into the system will be verified by block level officers (BLOs), which is expected to save time compared to legacy processes. The Commission intends to empower voters to find and correct mistakes in the electoral roll, and self-authenticate correct information.

A ‘mega million’ launch simultaneously in all states and territories across India includes state agency leaders, 740 district electoral officers, and BLOs and electoral registration officers from roughly a million polling stations, according to an announcement by the Commission. The process can be completed online or in person at Common Service Centres (CSCs).

The program is expected to be completed by October 15, at least in Delhi. A summary revision draft will be published by January 1, 2020, with the final roll published a week or two later.

Some officials in India’s government have also considered using Aadhaar to streamline updates to the country’s voter rolls, and the Electoral Commission is seeking legal amendments to link Aadhaar with voter IDs.

Seven documents were already approved for authenticating electors’ details, including passports, driving licenses, Aadhaar cards, ration cards, identity cards for public sector workers, bank passbooks, and farmer’s identity cards. PAN cards, smart cards issued by RGI under NPR, and the most recent bill from a utility can also now be used.

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