Postal voting in the US elections
As the US presidential election is set to take place in November, many states are making postal voting options more accessible due to the coronavirus pandemic – which has impacted the US significantly, the country with this highest number of cases .
- Many have pushed for the expanded use of postal ballots as opposed to in-person voting to ensure social distancing, a critical measure adopted around the world to halt the outbreak.
- President Trump’s Republican party has been resisting these efforts – with its legislators and court appointees at both state and federal levels working against the expansion of postal balloting. Republicans have argued that postal voting could increase risks of voter fraud, and have accused Democrats of using the pandemic as a pretext to further election reforms.
What is postal voting or ballots?
- It is also called Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot Papers (ETPB) and under this ballot papers are distributed electronically to electors and are then returned to the election officers via post.
Who can avail this facility in India?
- 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. While prisoners are not allowed to vote, people under preventive detention can cast their votes through postal ballots.
- 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.
- Recently, a new category of ‘absentee voters’ was introduced in which they can also opt for postal voting.
- These voters are 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.
- Recently, senior citizens above the age of 65 and voters who test positive for COVID19 or are suspected to be COVID-affected were allowed to cast their vote by post.