Patna: There would now be 72,227 polling booths in Bihar in place of the existing 62,780.
The number of polling booths in the state went up after revising the average number of voters that should be there per booth. The revised number of polling booths come into effect during the 2019 general elections for the first time.
"The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued a formal letter accepting our proposal about the number of polling booths in the state on Monday," a state election department official said on Tuesday. A proposal in this regard had been sent by the state. The Telegraph had in May carried a report about the state government's letter to the ECI seeking relaxation in population parameters while deciding number of polling booths in the state.
The ECI had suggested that the number of voters per polling booth should ideally be 1,200 in rural areas and 1,400 in urban areas. The suggestion came in the wake of compulsory use of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) with every EVM. As the use of VVPAT slows down voting rate because of increase in time consumed by a voter, it was suggested that voter load on polling booths be reduced so that voting percentage is not adversely hit.
In the 2014 general election, the criteria followed was 1,400 rural and 1,600 urban voters for booths respectively.<>
Even at that time the ECI had allowed Bihar to use 1,600-per booth parameter for deciding number of polling booths.
Bihar had sought a 2014-like relief as following ECI's original proposal would have led to a massive increase in number of polling booths. "Going by the population norm suggested by the commission, the number of polling booths would have crossed the one-lakh mark, so we requested for a 2014-type relaxation seeking that ECI accept our request for 1400-voter norm for both rural and urban areas," the official said.
He said that increase in number of polling booths puts pressure on the state government's resources because it is hard to depute its personnel during voting and also deploy security personnel needed for free and fair polls.