Home >Opinion >Quick Edit >Opinion | Vote’s in the mail

The Election Commission of India has tweaked the rules on polling to let covid patients, suspected coronavirus carriers and citizens above 65 cast their votes via postal ballots. Given the raging pandemic, this makes sense. It should keep the elderly safe, as they are more vulnerable to infection, and ensure that those afflicted by it are not deprived of their franchise. The broad idea is to keep our democratic processes from being disrupted by the great disruptor that’s covid. The concept is not new in India. Members of the armed forces, after all, have been voting by mail.

Bold as the move is, postal ballots have been controversial in various parts of the world. Even US President Donald Trump recently referred to the possibility of their being rigged. The main problem with them is that it’s hard for remote voters to determine if their vote was actually recorded. Remember, paper trails were instituted to offer exactly that assurance. Perhaps a mechanism could be devised that minimizes the risk of electoral malpractices. Elections serve their democratic purpose best when everyone is convinced of the system’s integrity. On this, India has a reputation to live up to.

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