ETPBS stands for Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System. It means the system allows a voter to cast his/her vote through the post. It was launched in India in 2016.
- The ETPBS is a “one-way” transmission of Postal ballots in the electronic form to the Service Voters.
- Service Voters are voters employed in the Armed forces, Government posting outside India, etc.
- Through EPBS, the returning officers download the ballots for the service voters. The ballots are encrypted and get automatically assigned to the service voters as per their constituency.
- On receipt of the ballot in electronic form, the service voter can cast his vote and send it back to the returning officer via Post.
- Upon receiving the postal ballot, the returning officer validates the ballot using QR codes.
- This entire communication process is secured using multiple layers of checks and transmission protocol.
- Before 2016, the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended to allow persons with disabilities and persons above 80 years to cast vote through postal ballot. But, this was different from ETPBS.
How ETPBS for Service Voters was helpful?
10, 84,266 e postal ballots were received in the year 2019 after allowing ETPBS for service voters. This voter turnout was equal to 60.14%. There was a great increase in the service voters’ turnout from the year 2014 which was just 4%.
Election Commission proposes ETPBS for NRIs
The Election Commission of India has asked the Union Law Ministry to extend voting through postal ballots to non-resident Indians (NRIs) for the upcoming assembly elections in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Pondicherry, and Tamil Nadu. The commission highlighted that ETPBS was successful for service voters and will also be successful for NRIs. EC has now recommended amending Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to extend the postal ballot system to NRIs.