Highlights

  • Specially-designed pens to be used by MP and MLA voters in President's election
  • Election Commission providing special pens to protect voters' identity
  • Droupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha: voting on 18 July, counting on 21 July

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President election: how 'special pens' protect voter's identity | Droupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha

Voters in the Presidential poll will get special pens with violet ink at the time of voting. If a ballot paper is marked with any other pen, it will be rejected.

A special pen for the election of India's next President, packed in locked trunks, placed in strong rooms which are locked and sealed from the outside. With the Presidential elections just a few days away, preparations are in full swing.

One of the unique features of the election is a specially-designed pen meant to maintain the sanctity of the voting process. Voters in the Presidential poll will get the pens at the time of voting. These pens have violet-coloured ink to mark ballot papers. If a ballot paper is marked with any other pen, then it will be rejected under Rule 31(1)(d) of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election Rules, 1974.

The logic behind the special pens is to make sure that the ballot papers look similar, and usage of a particular pen or ink does not reveal who the voter is. This will maintain the secrecy of voting as parties are not supposed to force their legislators to vote for a particular candidate in the Presidential election.

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The pen is being provided by the Election Commission to designated officials who will organise the voting in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and state Legislative Assemblies.

The race is between the ruling NDA's candidate Droupadi Murmu, and Opposition's candidate Yashwant Sinha. The scales are believed to be tilting towards Murmu.

Voting is scheduled to take place on 18 July, with counting of votes three days later. Voting will occur at the Parliament and state Assembly premises. All elected legislators - at the Centre and the states - are eligible to vote in the poll. However, nominated MPs and MLAs, and Members of state Legislative Councils cannot vote.

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Although the post of the President is largely ceremonial, the election is being seen as a politically significant, as the Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha has promised to stop the alleged misuse of central investigation agencies, and halt controversial laws like the Citizenship Amendment Act, if he wins.

With the next Lok Sabha elections just two years away, the Presidential poll is set to be a prestige battle for a confident BJP, and an Opposition still trying to find sure footing.

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