They not only visited polling stations on election day but also experienced the preparatory work
The recently concluded third phase of India's General Elections has garnered international attention, as 75 delegates from 23 countries witnessed the election process firsthand as part of the International Election Visitors' Programme (IEVP). This initiative, organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI), aimed to promote transparency, credibility, and inclusiveness while showcasing the vibrant electoral process to foreign delegates.

During the third phase on May 7, 2024, polling was conducted across 93 constituencies in 11 states and union territories. Delegates from diverse countries were divided into six groups to observe the electoral proceedings in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh. They not only visited polling stations on election day but also experienced the preparatory work leading up to this grand logistical exercise.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar emphasized the global significance of India's electoral process and welcomed the delegates to witness democracy in action. He highlighted the scale of India's elections, involving nearly 970 million voters and supported by over 15 million polling personnel, serving the nation's democratic ideals.

In Karnataka, delegates from Cambodia, Tunisia, Moldova, Seychelles, and Nepal visited Belgaum and expressed their admiration for the transparency of the polling process, particularly appreciating the mock polls, candidate involvement, and media monitoring.

In Goa, representatives from Bhutan, Mongolia, and Israel noted their appreciation for the smooth management of polling logistics and the inclusion of initiatives like the Green Polling Stations and the use of software for EVM-VVPAT randomization. They were particularly impressed by the Pink Polling Stations and those managed by persons with disabilities.

In Madhya Pradesh, an 11-member team from Sri Lanka and the Philippines visited polling stations across Bhopal, Vidisha, Sehore, and Raisen. They observed the enthusiastic participation of Indian voters and commended the unwavering faith and commitment of the electorate to uphold democratic values.

In Uttar Pradesh, delegates from Chile, Georgia, Maldives, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, and Uzbekistan visited Fatehpur Sikri and Agra constituencies. They marveled at the peaceful, inclusive, and accessible nature of the electoral process and were captivated by the architectural marvels like the Taj Mahal.

In Gujarat, delegates from Fiji, Australia, Russia, Madagascar, and Kyrgyz Republic observed the pre-poll arrangements in Ahmedabad. They admired the strong security measures at EVM strong rooms and the deployment of armed police personnel. They also praised the initiative of Braille ballot papers for visually impaired voters and the all-female-managed polling stations.

In Maharashtra, representatives from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, and Zimbabwe visited Raigad. They observed pre-poll preparations and the transparency measures in place at polling stations, emphasizing the significance of transparency in maintaining democratic ideals.

The visiting delegates were unanimous in their praise for India's election management and the festive atmosphere that pervaded the election process. They noted that ECI's initiatives, such as the use of technology for EVM-VVPAT randomization and Green Polling Stations, were inspirational. They also recognized the unwavering faith of Indian voters in the democratic process and appreciated the ECI's commitment to accessibility through measures like ramps, wheelchairs, and Braille ballots.

The IEVP reaffirmed the international admiration for India's robust electoral system. By providing an opportunity for delegates to witness the nuances of India's election process, the program helped to reinforce transparency and enhance democratic partnerships worldwide.