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Government of India
Election Commission
12-October-2017 17:14 IST
Schedule for the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh

The term of the Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh is normally due to expire as follows:

 

Himachal Pradesh

07.01.2018

By virtue of its powers, duties and functions under Article 324 read with Article 172(1) of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Commission is required to hold general election to constitute the new Legislative Assembly in the State of Himachal Pradesh before expiry of its present term.

 

(1)       Assembly Constituencies

 

The total number of Assembly Constituencies in the State of Himachal Pradesh and seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, as determined by the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, 2008, are as under: -

 

State

Total No. of ACs

Reserved for SCs

Reserved for STs

Himachal Pradesh

68

17

3

 

 (2)      Electoral Rolls

The    electoral rolls    of    all    the existing Assembly Constituencies in the State of Himachal Pradesh are being revised, with reference to 01.01.2017 as the qualifying date. The dates of publication of the Final Rolls are indicated in the Table below and the details of the final publication will be made available on the ECI website. As per the draft rolls, the numbers of electors in the states are as follows:

 

 

 

State

 

Total No. of Electors in Draft Rolls-2017 on 01/07/2017 w.r.t. 01/01/2017 as qualifying date

 

 

Total no of Electors as per Final Roll on 15/09/2017

Himachal Pradesh

4827644 (48.27 Lac)

4905677 (49.05 Lac)

 

(a)               Improvement in the health of the electoral rolls: The Commission firmly believes that pure and updated electoral rolls are the foundation of free, fair and credible election and intensive and sustained focus is laid on improving their quality and fidelity. The Commission, after visiting the poll bound state, had directed the State election machinery to ensure a smooth, effective, accessible and time-bound completion of Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls with 01.01.2017 as the qualifying date, so as to ensure that all eligible un-enrolled electors in the State are duly registered. Special efforts were made to identify the critical gaps in the electoral rolls and targeted SVEEP activities were carried out to address them.

 

The Commission has been constantly endeavouring to improve the fidelity of electoral rolls by taking focused efforts for maximization of registration of eligible electors and removing the impurities in the rolls. In 2015, the Commission has launched a nationwide comprehensive programme, namely, NERPAP with an objective of bringing an error free and authenticated electoral roll. A similar programme called as NERP, 2016 was organized with the objectives of improvements of health of electoral roll and standardization of sections, polling station and part boundaries.

 

This year, in tune with the theme of ‘No’ voters to be left behind’ the Commission utilized the period of continuous updation, for maximization of enrolment of young electors particularly 18-19 age group and removal of entries of registered dead voters.

 

Special Initiatives taken in Himachal Pradesh:

Second Special Summary Revision 2017 was organized in Himachal Pradesh  from 1st July, 2017 to 15th September, 2017 during which 1.25 Lac no. of voters name have been added in the electoral rolls while 47,214 names have been deleted through form-7 after following the procedure of issuing notices.

 

Special drive to enroll left out voters was organized from 16th -30th September, 2017 in which BLOs have visited house to house of every family in the area and as a result total of 74885 new voters name have been added in the Electoral Roll in the State out of which 20437 new voters are belonging to 18-19 year age group.

 

(b)     Photo Electoral Rolls

 

Photo Electoral Rolls will be used during this General Election and photo percentages in Photo Electoral Rolls of this State is 100%.

 

(c)     Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC)

 

Identification of the voters at the polling booth at the time of poll shall be mandatory. Electors who have been provided with EPIC shall be identified through EPIC. Presently, the EPIC coverage in this State is as under:-

 

 

 

State

Percentage of EPIC

Himachal Pradesh

100%

 

All the residual electors are advised to obtain their Elector Photo Identity Cards from the Electoral Registration Officers of their Assembly Constituencies, urgently.

 

In order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters, if needed. Adhaar Card has also been included as an additional document for establishing the identity of voters at the Polling Stations.

 

(d)     Photo Voter Slips

 

To facilitate the voters to know where he/she is enrolled as a voter at a particular polling station and what is his/her serial number in the Electoral roll, the Commission has directed that official voter slip bearing the Photo of the elector (wherever present in the roll) will be distributed atleast 7 days before the date of poll to all enrolled voters by the District Election Officer and a very close and rigorous monitoring of the distribution process shall be done by the DEO and General Observer concerned. The size, design and format of the Photo Voter Slip has also been substantially improved to enhance its utility and effectiveness in voter identification, awareness and guidance by increasing the size of the image, providing additional information along with polling station Nazri Naksha on the reverse of the slip and improvement in the quality of printing. It has also been directed that the said voter slip should be in the languages in which electoral roll is published for that Assembly Constituency. The Commission has laid a special emphasis on the systematic, efficient and timely distribution of the Photo Voter Slips through the Booth Level Officers (BLOs), who are under strict instructions to hand over the voter slip to the elector concerned only and not to any other person. The BLOs shall also maintain a Pre-Printed Register of Voters and take the signatures/thumb impression of person to whom the Photo Voter Slip is delivered.

 

The residual undistributed Voter Slips shall be returned by the BLO to the concerned ERO, who shall keep the same in a sealed cover after making an alphabetical list of the undistributed PVS in respect of each Part/polling station. Two copies of such alphabetical lists shall be handed over to the RO of the concerned constituency, while sealed cover of undistributed photo voter slips shall remain in safe custody with the ERO. No further distribution of photo voter slips shall be done after the same are returned to the ERO.

 

(e)     Voter Guide Brochure:

 

In this election, a Voter Guide Brochure (in local languages) shall be handed over to every household ahead of the elections, giving information about the date and time of polls, contact details of the BLOs, important websites, helpline numbers, documents required for identification at the polling station besides other important information including the Do’s and Dont’s for voters at the polling station. This Voter Guide Brochure will be distributed along with the Photo Voter Slips by the BLOs.

 

(3)       Polling Stations and Special Facilitation

 

The number of Polling Stations of Himachal Pradesh are as follows:

 

 

State

No. of Polling

Stations in 2012

No. of Polling

Stations in 2017

 

% Increase

Himachal Pradesh

7252

7479

3.13%

 

(a)     Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) at Polling Stations:

 

The Commission has upgraded the status of facilities at the Polling Stations from the earlier concept of Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) to Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF). Accordingly, instructions have been issued to the Chief Electoral Officers of all these States to ensure that every Polling Station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, shed, toilet, ramp for the physically challenged voters, a standard voting compartment etc. for the convenience and facilitation of voters.

(b)       Facilitation for PWDs

The Commission has issued instructions to ensure that as far as practicable, all polling stations are located at ground floor and sturdy ramps are provided for the convenience of differently-abled electors  with  wheel-chairs. Further, in  order to  provide targeted  and  need- based facilitation to differently-abled voters, the Commission has directed that all Persons With Disabilities (PwDs) in an Assembly Constituency are identified and tagged to their respective Polling Stations and necessary disability-specific arrangements made for their smooth and convenient voting experience on the poll day. Identified PWDs will be assisted by volunteers appointed by RO/DEO. Special facilitation will be made for PWDs electors at Polling Stations. Also, it has been directed that differently-abled electors are given priority for entering polling booths, provision made for designated parking spaces close to the entrance of polling premise and special care to be provided to electors with speech and hearing impairment. Special focus has been laid for the sensitization of the polling personnel regarding the unique needs of the differently-abled.

 

(c)  Assured Minimum Facility Polling Stations:

 

In order to enhance the quality of voting experience for the esteemed electors, both in terms of the ease and comfort of voting, as well as their constructive association with the voting process, the Commission has directed that, as far as practicable, Model Polling Stations shall be set up in all the constituencies of the poll bound states. The Model Polling Stations envision the enhancement in electoral participation experience of the voters through a three-pronged strategy of improved physical structure and facilities of polling premises, systematic and hassle-free queue management and courteous and polite behaviour and conduct of the polling personnel.

 

 

(d)     Voter Facilitation Posters:

 

In order to fulfill the statutory requirements under Rule 31 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 and to provide accurate and relevant information for voter awareness and information at each polling station, the Commission has also directed that uniform and standardized Voter Facilitation Posters (VFP) shall be displayed on all Polling Stations for greater facilitation and awareness of the voters. A total of FOUR (4) Posters have been designed to capture voter-cenrtic information relevant on the poll day like details of the Polling Booth, polling area specified for that particular polling booth, list of contesting candidates, contact details of the important election functionaries, list of prescribed identification documents, illustrative voting procedure, items prohibited around the polling booth and important Do’s and Dont’s to be observed on the poll day. The Commission has directed that these four VFPs shall be prominently displayed ay each polling booth in the poll-going States.

 

(e)     Voter Assistance Booths (VAB):

 

Voter Assistance Booths shall be set up for every polling station location, having a team of BLO/officials with the objective of facilitating the voter to locate his/her polling booth number and serial number of that voter in the electoral roll of that concerned polling booth. The VABs will be set up with prominent signage and in such a manner that it will be conspicuous to the voters as they approach the polling premise/building to enable them to seek required facilitation on the poll day.

 

 

(f)     Secrecy of Voting- Increase in Height of Standardized Voting Compartment:

 

In order to maintain the secrecy of vote at the time of poll and uniformity in use of voting compartments, the Commission has issued revised instructions to increase the height of the Voting Compartments to 30 inches. It has been, further, directed that the Voting Compartment should be placed on a table whose height shall be 30 inches and only corrugated plastic sheet (flex-board) of steel-grey colour, which is completely opaque and reusable, shall be used for making the voting compartments. The Commission hopes that the use of these standardized and uniform Voting Compartments in all the polling booths will translate into greater voter facilitation, enhance the secrecy of vote and eliminate aberrations and non-uniformity in the preparation of Voting Compartment inside the polling booths.

            (4)        Special Arrangement For Women:

 

                 All-Women Managed Polling Stations: As part of its firm commitment towards gender equality and greater constructive participation of women in the electoral process, the Commission has also directed that, to the extent possible, All- women Managed Polling Stations’ shall be set up in two polling stations for each Assembly Constituency where the entire polling staff, including the police and security personnel, shall be women. Total 136 Women managed Polling Stations will be setup for the entire state of Himachal Pradesh for the first time.

 

(5)        Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs):

The poll in the State will be conducted at all polling stations using EVMs and VVPATs. The Commission has already made arrangements to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of election. The First Level Check of EVMs and VVPATs has been completed in the presence of representatives of political parties. A two-stage randomization of EVMs and VVPATs will also be done. In the first stage, all the EVMs and VVPATs stored in the district storage centre will be randomized by the District Election Officer (DEO) in the presence of the representatives of the recognized political parties for Assembly Constituency-wise allocation. Second randomization of EVMs and VVPATs will be done at RO level before preparation of EVMs and VVPATs for polling station-wise allocation. This is done in the presence of Observer contesting candidates/their agents. EVMs and VVPATs will be prepared and set for election after finalization of the contesting candidates, At this stage also, candidates or their agents/representatives will be allowed to check and satisfy themselves in every manner about the error-free functionality of the EVMs and VVPATs. On a pilot basis, VVPAT from One (1) Polling Station in each Assembly Constituency will be randomly selected to count VVPAT paper slips for verification of the result obtained from the Control Unit. Thus paper slip for 68 polling stations will be counted in Himachal Pradesh.

 

(a)     Mock Poll: Mock poll was conducted in EVMs and VVPATs during the First Level Checking in the presence of the representative of Political Parties. Mock poll shall also be conducted in the presence of candidates/their agents during the commissioning of EVMs and VVPATs. Further, on the poll day, Mock Poll shall be conducted by the Presiding Officer at each Polling Station before the commencement of actual polling in the presence of the Polling Agents set up by the contesting candidates and a Certificate of successful conduct of the Mock Poll shall be made by the Presiding Officer. Immediately after the conduct of Mock Poll, the CLEAR Button shall be pressed on the EVM to clear the data of the Mock Poll and the fact that no votes are recorded in the Control Unit shall be displayed to the Polling Agents present. The Commission has issued directions for ensuring proper training to all the polling personnel regarding the conduct of Mock Poll, as well as to create awareness amongst the political parties, contesting candidates, their polling agents and other stakeholders about the Mock Poll process.

(b)     None Of The Above (NOTA) In EVMs and VVPATs: In its judgment dated 27th  September, 2013 in Writ Petition (C) No. 161 of 2004 (People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs Union of India and another), the Supreme Court has directed that there should be a “None of the Above” (NOTA) option on the ballot papers and EVMs and VVPATs.

 

On the Balloting Unit, below the name of the last candidate, there will now be a button for NOTA option so that electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option by pressing the button against NOTA.   The Commission has provided a new symbol for the NOTA option, which was designed by National Institute of Design (NID). This new symbol will facilitate the voters in casting of their votes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTA Symbol

The Commission is taking steps to bring this to the knowledge of voters and all other stakeholders and to train all field level officials including the polling personnel about the provision of NOTA and its symbol.

 

(c)     VVPAT ( Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail)

 

VVPATs will be used along with EVMs in all the 68 Assembly Constituencies of poll going state of Himachal Pradesh to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election. A comprehensive SVEEP  programme has already been launched in Himachal Pradesh to increase voters’ awareness and education about the VVPATs.

 

(d)     Photographs Of Candidates On EVM Ballot Paper

 

In  order  to  facilitate  the  electors  in  identifying  the  candidates,  the  Commission has prescribed an additional measure by way of adding provision for printing the photograph of candidate also on the ballot to be displayed on the EVM (Ballot Unit) and on Postal Ballot Papers. This will also take care to avoid likely confusion when candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency. For this purpose, the candidates are required to submit to the Returning Officer, their recent Stamp Size photograph as per the specifications laid down by the Commission. Many of the poll-bound states will be using the photograph of the candidates on the ballot papers for the first time. Instructions have also been issued to ensure necessary publicity of this instruction

 

(6)       Deployment of Polling Personnel And Randomization

 

Polling parties shall be formed randomly, through the special randomization IT application. Three-stage randomization will be adopted. First, from a wider district database of eligible officials, a shortlist of a minimum 120% of the required numbers will be randomly picked up. This group will be trained for polling duties. In the second stage, from this trained manpower, actual