In September 2016, the votes of 12 legislators were declared invalid during the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, for marking their votes using a pen other than the one provided by the official polling staff. To avoid a similar controversy during the presidential election today, special violet-ink pens have been introduced for the electors to mark their votes. These have been procured from Mysore Paints and and Varnish Limited, which is a supplier of indelible ink – popularly known as voter’s ink – to the Election Commission (EC).
“Before entering the voting chamber, a polling staff will collect personal pens from the voters and hand over the special pen to mark their vote on the ballot paper,” an EC official told NDTV. After the vote, the pen will be returned to the polling staff.
The use of any other pen will invalidate the vote during counting.
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The special pens are being used for the first time in the presidential election, in which National Democratic Alliance’s Ram Nath Kovind will compete against United Progressive Alliance’s Meira Kumar. Each violet-ink pen carries a unique serial number, and the ink has been approved by the EC. Posters have been put up at the polling centre to make the electors aware of the new rule, along with the do’s and dont’s.
Two ballot boxes along with ballot papers in two colours arrived in Bengaluru at the Vidhana Soudha on Sunday from Delhi. The green ballot papers are for the MPs, and the pink ones are for the MLAs. The coloured papers will help determine the vote count based on value – the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of the state they represent, while the value of an MP remains unchanged, which is 708. After polling, these ballot boxes will arrive in Delhi on Tuesday, and the votes will be counted on July 20.