• Electoral reforms is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results. Electoral reforms refer to the introduction of best practices in ensuring better democracy, clean politics, fair elections, ideal members of legislative houses, true representation and so on. Articles 324-329 of the Indian Constitution deal with elections and electoral reforms.

Electoral Reforms Before 1996

  • Lowering of Voting Age
    • 61st Constitutional Amendment Act of 1988
    • Voting age-21 years to 18 years for the Lok Sabha as well asthe assembly elections
    • Deputation to Election Commission
    • Increase in Number of Proposers
    • Electronic Voting Machines
      • 1st Used in Goa-1999
    • Booth Capturing
    • Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC)

Electoral Reforms of 1996

  • Listing of Names of Candidates
  • Disqualification for Insulting the National Honour Act
  • Prohibition on the Sale of Liquor
  • Number of Proposers
  • Death of a Candidate
  • Time Limit for By-Elections (held within six months of occurrence of the vacancy)
  • Holiday to Employees on the Polling Day Promoting Electoral Reforms - Transforming India
  • Contestants Restricted to Two Constituencies
    • Candidate would not be eligible to contest from more than two Parliamentary or assembly constituencies at a general election or at the by-elections which are held simultaneously
  • Prohibition of Arms
  • Effective Campaigning Period Reduced

Electoral Reforms After 1996

  • Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections
  • Requisitioning of Staff for Election Duty
  • Voting through Postal Ballot
  • Facility to Opt to Vote Through Proxy
  • Declaration of Criminal Antecedents, Assets, etc., by
  • Changes in Rajya Sabha Elections
    • Domicile or residency requirement
    • Introducing open ballot system, instead of secret ballotsystem
  • Exemption of Travelling Expenditure
  • Free Supply of Electoral Rolls
  • Parties Entitled to Accept Contribution
  • Allocation of Time on Electronic Media
  • Introduction of Braille Signage Features in EVMs

Electoral Reforms Since 2010

  • Restrictions Imposed on Exit Polls
  • Time-Limit for Submitting a Case for Disqualification
  • All Officials Included in Corrupt Practice
  • Increase in Security Deposit
  • Appellate Authority within the District
  • Voting Rights to Citizens of India Living Abroad
  • Online Enrolment in the Electoral Roll
  • Introduction of NOTA Option
  • Introduction of VVPAT
  • Persons in Jail or Police Custody Can Contest Elections
  • Immediate Disqualification of Convicted MPs and MLAs
  • Ceiling on Election Expenditure
  • Photos of Candidates on EVMs and Ballot Papers
  • Ceiling on Cash Donations Lowered
  • Cap on Corporate Contributions Lifted
  • Introduction of Electoral Bonds
  • Foreign Funding Allowed

Other Notable Reforms

  • Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program-SVEEP
  • Community Radio Stations
  • Mainstreaming Electoral Literacy-ELC Project

Need for Electoral Reforms in India

There is a huge need for electoral reforms due to the shunning of venomous people and malevolent activities they are involved in. The following in detail, the need for electoral reforms has described:

  • The election process should not be imposed on contemporary/modish society
  • To halt the misuse of the government machinery
  • To stop the criminalization of politics
  • To enhance the trust towards the electoral system in the eyes of citizens.
  • To eliminate the non-serious candidates towards the election process. Besides, to teach the non-serious candidates to vote for whom they want as their leader.
  • To make the election process neutral as well as free from all bias
  • To convert the election system as per the modern technology, thereby the results will be accurate and reliable.
  • In some cases, the candidates fight elections by taking two seats. The authorized officers have an eye on these candidates to pay the expenses of their second constituency as well.

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