E-voting debuts with mixed response, glitches

The online voting for the civic polls a first-of-its-kind exercise in the country evoked mixed response from the public on Sunday. The state government had spent over Rs 36 crore to create facilities for online voting on a pilot basis. One ward in each of the six municipal corporations was selected for e-voting, but only 182 of the total 86.16 lakh voters registered for the same.

The state Election Commission has cited 76.76 per cent voter response to today's polling exercise.

The infrastructure for online voting was created by a technical team of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). If the total expenditure on online polling is analysed, it comes to around Rs 20 lakh per online voter.State Election Commission officials said that online voting will be gradually extended to zilla panchayat and taluka panchayat polls.

In Vadodara, BJP MP and mayor Balkrishna Shula could not vote online due to a technical snag. Vadodara city had only three online voters Shukla, his wife and a VMC employee.

Shukla told The Indian Express: "I don't know what was the problem, but I could not cast my vote as a registered e-voter. I had to cast my vote at a polling booth. What matters is the vote, not how it is voted."

State Election Commission secretary P S Shah said the online voter response was good considering that the general turnout was below expectation.

Right to vote against candidates

It was mixed bag for those opting to exercise the right of 'no vote' (casting their vote to protest against all candidates in the fray).

Vadodara based-activist Trupti Shah said: "This time, no polling agent turned away as was the case in the past, letting us register our votes and noting that we were not voting for any candidate."

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