Election Commission (EC) is keen to make the Elector’s Photo Identity Card or EPIC available in electronic form. In other words, you could soon carry your Voter ID Card on your phone just like an electronic boarding pass that is downloadable ahead of a journey by air.
“EC has not taken a final decision in this regard yet. We keep getting suggestions and ideas from officers on fields, through working groups of (state) chief electoral officers and public. This is one such idea we are working on,” an election commission official told.
“Voter ID can be on a mobile website, through email… The idea is to provide faster delivery and easy accessibility. The physical card takes time to print and time to reach the voter,” the official said. The picture of the voter in digital mode will be clearer.
To avail this facility, an eligible voter will have to provide her mobile number or email address to the EC machinery at the time of applying for enrolment in the voters’ list.
Once her name is included in the electoral roll, she will be intimated through an SMS or email. The new voter can then download the Voter Card through OTP (One Time Password) authentication.
Existing voters may have to reverify their details with the EC (similar to the Bank KYC process) and provide their email or mobile phone number to get their cards in the electronic form.
What would the Digital Voter Card look like?
The digital voter card is not expected to look too different from its physical form. It will be available as a PDF file, and can be downloaded on one’s phone or computer.
The soft copy may also have a QR code that will carry the voter’s enrolment details such as name and date of birth and address.
An electronic card will help the EC save costs on printing and distributing hard copy of EPIC. The EC feels that voters too, will find it useful to have the PDF file of her voter card on her phone, which will do away with the necessity of first producing a voter’s slip on the day of voting.
EC expected to introduce the digital voter cards?
This is still just a proposal, and needs to be approved by the full Commission — that is, by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar.
According to sources, it may come up for consideration before the next set of Assembly elections next year. West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry will vote in early summer 2021.