Odisha CEO Warns Voters of 'Challenge Vote' Misinformation

Odisha's Chief Electoral Officer warns voters about a fake WhatsApp message regarding "challenge vote" and voting rights, labeling it as misleading. The CEO clarifies that the message's claims have no basis in election norms, urging voters to verify information through official channels.

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Odisha CEO Warns Voters of 'Challenge Vote' Misinformation

Odisha CEO Warns Voters of 'Challenge Vote' Misinformation

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Odisha, Nikunja Bihari Dhal, has issued a warning to voters about a viral social media message regarding "challenge vote" and voting rights. The CEO has labeled the message as fake and misleading, cautioning citizens to be wary of such misinformation.

Why this matters: The spread of misinformation on social media can have a significant impact on theelectoral process, potentially leading to voter confusion and disenfranchisement. It is crucial to verify information through official channels to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and maintain trust in democratic institutions.

The viral message claims that if a voter's name is not on the electoral roll, they can demand a "challenge vote" under Section 49A by showing their Aadhar card or Voter ID. It further states that if someone has already voted in their name, the voter can request a "tender vote." The message also falsely asserts that if a polling booth records more than 14% tender votes, a re-poll will be conducted.

However, CEO Dhal has clarified that these claims have no basis in election norms. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), a voter's name must appear on the electoral roll to be eligible to vote, and merely possessing a Voter ID card does not guarantee voting rights.

The CEO explained that a "challenged vote" actually refers to a situation where polling agents challenge the identity of a voter, and the presiding officer conducts an inquiry into the challenge. Section 49A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, pertains to the design of Electronic Voting Machines and is unrelated to "challenge vote."

Regarding "tender vote," Dhal clarified that if a voter discovers that someone has already cast their vote, they can request a tendered ballot paper and cast a "Tendered Vote" only after their identity is verified. The claim about re-polling in case of more than 14% tender votes is also false, as former ECI Director Padma Angmo stated that tendered votes are only considered on the direction of a High Court.

CEO Dhal has urged voters to exercise caution when encountering such misinformation on social media platforms. He emphasized the importance of verifying information through official channels to maintain the integrity of the electoral process. "Voters should be cautious of such misinformation on social media and verify information through official channels to ensure the integrity of the electoral process," Dhal stated.

Key Takeaways

  • Odisha CEO warns voters about fake WhatsApp message on "challenge vote" and voting rights.
  • Viral message claims "challenge vote" can be demanded with Aadhar card or Voter ID, but it's false.
  • A voter's name must appear on electoral roll to be eligible to vote, not just possessing a Voter ID.
  • "Tendered Vote" can be cast if someone has already voted in your name, but only after identity verification.
  • Verify election information through official channels to maintain electoral process integrity.