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Explained: Your voter card on phone? Here’s what EC wants to do

Digital Voter ID card: Currently, the Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is only available in hard copy, and has to be produced in the original by the voter on election day. What is the proposal being considered by the poll panel?

Written by Ritika Chopra , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 18, 2020 2:56:59 pm
election commission, election voter id, voter id phone, voter id smartphone, elector's photo identity card, digital voter card, india digital voter cardIn this file photo, woman voters can be seen displaying their identity cards as they wait in a queue to cast their votes for Maharashtra Assembly polls, in Sangli. (PTI Photo/Oct 21, 2019)

The 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.

Currently, the EPIC is only available in hard copy, and has to be produced in the original by the voter on election day. For those who cannot produce EPIC, can show an alternative photo ID document permitted by the EC. What is the proposal being considered by the poll panel?

What formalities would a voter need to complete to avail the soft copy of her Voter Identity Card?

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, The Indian Express has learned.

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. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

But why is the Commission considering such a proposal?

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.

When is the 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.

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