Lowering of Voting Age The 61st Constitutional Amendment Act of 19884 reduced the voting age from 21 years to 18 years for the Lok Sabha as well as the assembly elections. This was done in order to provide to the unrepresented youth of the country an opportunity to express their feelings and help them become a part of political process.
Deputation to Election Commission In 1988, a provision was made that the officers and the staff engaged in preparation, revision and correction of electoral rolls for elections are deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission for the period of such employment. These personnel, during that period, would be under the control, superintendence and discipline of the Election Commission.
Increase in Number of Proposers In 1988, the number of electors who are required to sign as proposers in nomination papers for elections to the Rajya Sabha and state legislative council has been increased to 10 per cent of the electors of the constituency or ten such electors, whichever is less. This was done in order to prevent non-serious candidates from contesting frivolously.
Electronic Voting Machines In 1989, a provision was made to facilitate the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in elections. The EVMs were used for the first time in 1998 on experimental basis in selected constituencies in the elections to the Assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. The EVMs were used for the first time in the general elections (entire state) to the Assembly of Goa in 1999.
Booth Capturing In 1989, a provision was made for adjournment of poll or countermanding of elections in case of booth capturing. Booth capturing includes: (i) seizure of a polling station and making polling authorities surrender ballot papers or voting machines (ii) taking possession of polling station and allowing only one’s own supporters to exercise their franchise
(iii) threatening and preventing any elector from going to polling station and
(iv) seizure of the place being used for counting of votes.
Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) The use of electors’ photo identity cards by the Election Commission is surely making the electoral process simple, smoother and quicker. A decision was taken by the Election Commission in 1993 to issue photo identity cards to electors throughout the country to check bogus voting and impersonation of electors at elections. The electoral roll is the basis for issue of EPICs to the registered electors. The electoral rolls are normally revised every year with 1st January of the year as the qualifying date. Every Indian citizen who attain the age of 18 years or above as on that date is eligible for inclusion in the electoral roll and can apply for the same. Once he is registered in the roll, he would be eligible for getting an EPIC. The scheme of issuing the EPICs is, therefore, a continuous and ongoing process for the completion of which no time limit can be fixed as the registration of electors is a continuous and ongoing process (excepting for a brief period between the last date for filing nomination and completion of electoral process) on account of more number of persons becoming eligible for the right of franchise on attaining the age of 18. It is the continuous effort of the Election Commission to provide the EPICs to the electors who have been left out in the previous campaigns as well as the new electors.