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Not sure where your booth is? Send a text

Shillong, March 31: Want desperately to vote but confused about the location of your polling booth? Disheartened? Think again. The polling booth location is just an SMS away, albeit not for free.

Today, Meghalaya chief electoral officer Prashant Naik launched an SMS service, which would help voters know about their polling booth.

According to the service, christened “your polling station at your fingertips”, a voter has to simply type his or her EPIC (election photo identity cards) number, and send it to 9856066666 via SMS.

A message will then be delivered to the voter’s inbox containing the name of the constituency, polling station, and the serial number registered in the electoral roll.

The message will read thus: Dear EPIC card holder your name is in ____ (ST) Assembly segment of Shillong (ST) parliamentary constituency detail of polling station is ___ your serial number in the roll is __. date of polling April 9, 2014, time 7am to 5pm. Please say yes to vote and no to note, your vote counts, with best wishes CEO Meghalaya.

Although the facility comes with a monetary charge, Naik said the SMS service would help voters know where to vote with ease. He said in the past, complaints had been received that some voters with an EPIC did not find their names in the electoral rolls.

However, the service would rectify the lacunae and will guide the voters to their polling booths.

There will be 2,562 polling stations (929 polling stations in Tura and 1,633 polling stations in Shillong) across 2,165 locations for the April 9 Lok Sabha polls in Meghalaya.

As on January 28, 2014, there are 15,53,028 voters in Meghalaya, of whom 22.62 per cent are in the 18-25 age group, while 50.43 per cent are women.

Among the electors, 5,84,070 voters are under Tura, divided into 24 Assembly segments, while 9,68,958 voters will cast their votes for the Shillong seat in 36 Assembly segments.

The electors will decide the fate of the eight candidates in Shillong and two in Tura on April 9 from 7am to 5pm.

At the same time, Naik said the offices of the district election officers would have to provide the voters’ slips by April 6. Until a few elections ago, the slips would be disbursed by agents belonging to different candidates.

He also said the state is prepared for the April 9 polls. “Man, machine and materials are ready and I would like to appeal to the people to come out and vote without fear,” he said.

Around 40 companies of paramilitary forces have arrived to ensure a peaceful, free and fair election. The election authorities would soon declare the sensitive and hyper-sensitive polling booths after a thorough verification.

To ensure that voting along the inter-state border passes off smoothly, Naik will be meeting his Assam counterpart here tomorrow.