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Tags Current Affairs

Postal ballots

Date: 09 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Election Commission has announced that it will allow those above the age of 65 as well as those under home or institutional quarantine to vote using postal ballots during the Bihar elections.

 

Details

  • A restricted set of voters can exercise postal voting. Through this facility, a voter can cast her vote remotely by recording her preference on the ballot paper and sending it back to the election officer before counting.

  • Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy, and Air Force, members of the armed police force of a state (serving outside the state), government employees posted outside India, and their spouses are entitled to vote only by post. In other words, they can’t vote in person. Voters under preventive detention can also vote only by post.

  • Special voters such as the President of India, Vice President, Governors, Union Cabinet ministers, Speaker of the House, and government officers on poll duty have the option to vote by post. But they have to apply through a prescribed form to avail this facility.

  • Recently, the Law Ministry, at the Election Commission’s behest, introduced a new category of ‘absentee voters’, who can now also opt for postal voting.

  • These are voters employed in essential services and unable to cast their vote due to their service conditions. Currently, officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Northern Railway (Passenger and Freight) Services, and media persons are notified as absentee voters.

  • The Returning Officer is supposed to print ballot papers within 24 hours of the last date of nomination withdrawal and dispatch them within a day.

  • This is done so that the ballot papers reach the concerned voter well before the polling date and she has enough time to send it back before the counting day.

  • After receiving it, the voter can mark her preference with a tick mark or cross mark against the candidate’s name. They also have to fill up a duly attested declaration to the effect that they have marked the ballot paper. 

  • The opposition parties have opposed the move saying that it will lead to malpractices and foul play by those parties which are in power and having resources.

  • The Commission defended itself saying senior citizens are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 infection and the decision to allow them to vote via postal ballots was made to minimise their exposure in public.

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