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Role and Functions of Chief Electoral Officer

Posted by Admin on October 30, 2014 | Comment

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) is the nodal officer who is in charge of ensuring implementation of all the provisions of electoral laws in the state. He functions under the direction and supervision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) as outlined in the Representation of the People Act, 1950 & 1951. Besides overseeing the conduct of state elections, he has other multi-faceted roles to play.

functions performed by CEO in indian states

Pre-Election Responsibilities of CEO

From the time, the dates of the elections are announced, the CEO gets into the task of ensuring compliance of some vital activities including meeting with political parties, addressing their concerns over revision of rolls and briefing the media to ensure awareness among the people regarding it. From ensuring availability of necessary material such as rubber stamps and indelible ink to identifying requirement of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and informing the Election Commission, the electoral officer performs a wide gamut of activities.

The Chief Electoral Officer makes sure that ballot papers are printed in proper and timely manner. He is also responsible for creating press note on election programme and notifying the same in the State Gazette. The Election Commission depends on the CEO to receive daily reports regarding the observance of Model Code of Conduct. It’s the job of the CEO to make sure that the complaint monitoring system is in place. Moreover, it’s he who declares holiday on the polling day and ensures the availability of poll observers in the state.

Role of CEO in Maintaining Law and Order during Elections

The CEO reviews the law and order situation in the state and makes a detailed assessment to ensure that timely measures are taken. One of the most critical aspects of his role is to maintain inter-state coordination and sealing of borders as needed. It’s incumbent upon the CEO to identify critical polling stations as per the instructions of the Election Commission. The CEO consults police officials and field officers for vulnerability mapping prior to the elections.

He makes an assessment about the availability and requirement of state police force and security forces and sends the requirement to the Election Commission. He has to ensure whether the security deployment plan is in compliance with the ECI’s directives. He also ensures that Helpline and the Complaint Cell are functioning at different levels in the state.

Role of CEO during Elections

The primary responsibility of the CEO is to inform ECI about the commencement of poll at scheduled time and send statutory reports in prescribed formats to ECI at 1 pm and 7 pm on the polling day and 7 am on next day. He also ensures arrangements at election booths and demonstration of EVMs in every district. Proper sealing of EVM and election papers is also his lookout.  The CEO can also recommend fresh poll. In the case of re-poll, the first and foremost task from his end is to send proposals for re-poll based on the scrutiny report or the report of the returning officer. Following this, he makes arrangements for re-poll as per ECI’s approval.

Role of CEO, Post-Elections

The CEO is the person responsible for informing district authorities about the date, time and place of counting. He has to ensure that candidates and their polling agents are informed about it. Besides ensuring the training of counting personnel and the availability of counting staff, he has to take care of the arrangements for unhindered flow of information about round wise results. Ensuring availability of additional counting staff also comes under his key responsibility area. When it comes to keeping a tab on the election expenses by candidates, the CEO ensures some of the crucial actions at the level of district electoral officer or the returning officer. It includes maintenance of day-to-day details of expenditure incurred from the date of nomination till the announcement of results.