This upcoming Assembly polls, Meghalaya will have at least four “firsts” including first-time voters called “millennium.”
Most significantly, perhaps, the hill state which goes to poll on February 27, will see as many as 86,890 voters aged between 18 and 19 years who will exercise the right to franchise for the first time.
Worth interesting is, the state has 133 millennium voters who were born on January 1, 2000, and one of them is Millennium Grace Marweiñ who has just turned 18 on January 1.
Along with others, Millennium Grace Marweiñ will be awarded on National Voters’ Day on January 25. She hailed from Mawlangwir village under Mawkyrwat Assembly constituency in South West Khasi Hills district.
A total of 18,30,104 voters were included the final electoral rolls published on January 10.
There are as many as 2,077 service voters, and 2,174 people with disabilities registered in the final rolls.
Among the four “firsts”, webcasting is one which will be used in 193 identified polling booths for LIVE monitoring of the election process.
“We will have direct webcasting to be visible at the Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and the Election Commission of India. The objective of webcasting is to ensure fair and free elections. This is another layer of monitoring and poll supervision to see whether poll officials are doing their work and voters are allowed to exercise their franchise in a free, fair and transparent manner or not,” Meghalaya chief electoral officer, F.R. Kharkongor said.
The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines would be used for the first time in Meghalaya along with the “controversial” Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in 3,082 polling stations spread across the 60 Assembly constituencies.
For the first time, the state will also have 60 “pink booths” or women polling stations, one in each constituency, to be managed all by women staff, from polling officials to security personnel.
“All the 60 women polling stations will be manned by women keeping in mind that we are a state which is always gender sensitive. These 60 pink polling booths would be set up to empower women and increase their participation in the poll process,” he said.