Three Assembly seats may have paper ballot, says CEC

Mumbai : Three of the 288 assembly constituencies that would go to poll on October 15 may have paper ballot while 13 other constituencies in the state will go for VVPAT, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath said on Tuesday.

Bhokar, Nanded South and Nanded North are the constituencies where the Election Commission is preparing for a probable paper ballot. In each of these constituencies, number of candidates is much more than 63, which makes it impossible to use electronic voting machines (EVM).

At Bhokar, where former chief minister Ashok Chavan’s wife Ameeta is the Congress nominee, there are total of 75 candidates in the fray. In Nanded South, a whopping 91 candidates, highest in the state, have filed nominations while in Nanded North there are 80 candidates.

“If the number in each constituency remains above 63 after the last date of withdrawal of nominations tomorrow, the voting will take place through paper ballot,” CEC Sampath said at a press conference here.

An EVM can have names of 16 candidates and only four EVMS can be used per polling station, he said.

Sampath is in Mumbai to review the preparations.

He also announced that voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be used in 13 Assembly constituencies.

VVPAT allows voters to verify that their votes have been cast as intended. Due to limited availability, major share of VVPAT system will be given to Maharashtra, Sampath said.

VVPAT will be used on 3942 polling stations in 13 constituencies of 8 districts. These districts are – Nashik (3), Wardha, Aurangabad (3), Amravati (2), Bhandara, Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Ahmednagar.

Sampath said the commission was satisfied with the preparations and added that authorities had been asked to ensure a level-playing field.

Sampath also said that the commission has paid very special attention to electoral rolls and there are 28.29 lakh new voters registered across the state, taking the total electorate of the state to 8.33 crores.

“For the first time, 12260 service personnel, posted at peace locations, have been registered as general voters. Earlier, the only option available to them was proxy or postal ballot,” he said.

He also made it clear that political advertisements in government vehicles are completely prohibited.

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