The government said on Wednesday that it is bringing key amendments to reform the electoral process based on the Election Commission's recommendations. Four major reforms are being introduced to strengthen the electoral rolls, make the voting process more inclusive, give more power to the EC, and weed out duplicates.
Just like PAN-Aadhaar linking, seeding of the Aadhaar card with one's voter ID or electoral card will now be allowed. However, unlike the former, this is being done on a voluntary basis, in accordance with the right to privacy judgment of the Supreme Court and a test of proportionality.
According to the EC, pilot projects conducted by it have been very positive and successful, and this step will weed out duplication and strengthen the electoral rolls.
Another proposal is to allow more attempts to register in the electoral rolls. Starting January 1 next year, first-time voters turning 18 will have the chance to register four times a year with four different cut-off dates. They could do this only once a year till now.
The EC has also decided to make the law gender-neutral for service officers, allowing the husband of the service officer to vote as well. Under the existing law, this facility is available only to the wife of a male service voter and is not available to the husband of a woman service voter.
It has also given the EC all the powers required to take over any premises for the conduct of elections. There were some objections to taking over schools and other important institutions during the period of elections.
The government will introduce these key electoral reforms in the present winter session of the parliament.