Postal Ballots

#GS2 #Elections #Procedures

Seeking to make the procedure to opt for postal ballot more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities, the Election Commission has come out with a set of new instructions.

 

New guidelines 

  • The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those aged above 80 and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station. It would be up to these two categories of voters to opt for postal ballot.
  • If he/she opts for postal ballot, then the BLO will collect the filled-in form 12-D from the house of the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the returning officer forthwith.

What is ‘postal voting’?

  • 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.

Who can vote through postal ballots?

  • 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.
  • Absentee voters – 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.

How postal ballot voting is done?

  • After receiving the postal ballot from the Election Commission, 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 ballot paper and the declaration are then placed in a sealed cover and sent back to the Returning Officer before the time fixed for the commencement of counting of votes.

 

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