Assembly Polls 2022: EC Makes Special Arrangements For Senior Citizens, PWDs, Covid-affected Voters. . Details Here

The Election Commission had faced severe flak from various quarters after the deadly second wave of COVID-19 hit the country in March-April last year as the holding of assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam was among the factors blamed for the surge.

Updated: January 8, 2022 11:40 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Sanstuti Nath

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The 11 districts that went to polls saw a mixed turnout.

New Delhi: To encourage maximum voter participation, and to ensure safe polls amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday announced special arrangements for senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), women, and Covid-affected voters, during the upcoming Assembly elections in five state–Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand. In an unprecedented step, the Election Commission has also banned public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in the five poll-bound states, citing the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, and issued stringent safety guidelines.

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Ballot Papers

The Election Commission will provide an option of postal for absentee voters in all states, including those above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities (PWDs) electors, who are having benchmark disabilities, electors employed in notified essential services, and Covid-19 patients during the ensuing assembly polls. ECI has said the postal ballot facility is an optional one and ensures total secrecy of voting.

Gender Equality

The Election Commission said as part of its firm commitment towards gender equality and greater constructive participation of women in the electoral process, it has directed that, to the extent possible, at least one polling station managed exclusively by women will be set up in every assembly constituency in Goa, Manipur, Punjab Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. In such polling stations, all election staff, including police and security personnel, will be women.

COVID-19 protoals

  • Election commission has reduced number of electors in polling station to maximum 1250 electors instead of 1500 electors.
  • Commission issued detailed instructions for assured minimum facilities at each polling station. Now, in view of COVID situation, mandatory sanitization of polling Station, preferably, a day before the poll have to be done.
  • Thermal Scanner would be installed at the entry point of every polling station location.
  • Thermal Checking of voters at entry point of polling station location/Polling station, either by polling staff or Para Medical staff or Asha worker.
  • If temperature is above the set norms of MoHFW at first reading, then it will be checked twice and if it remains, then the elector shall be provided with token/certificate and will be asked to come for voting at the last hour of poll. At the last hour of poll, such electors shall be facilitated voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
  • Help Desk for distribution of token to the voters of first come first basis so that they do not wait in the queue.
  • Marker to demonstrate social distancing for queue.
  • Earmarking circle for 15-20 persons of 2 yards (6 feet) distance for voters standing in the queue depending on the availability of space. There shall be three queues each, for male, female, and PwD/ Senior citizen voters.
  • The services of BLOs, volunteers etc may be engaged to monitor and regulate social distancing norms strictly.
  • One shaded waiting areas with chairs, dari etc. will be provided, for male and female separately, within the polling station premises so that voters can participate in voting without safety concerns.
  • Wherever possible, Booth App shall be used at the polling station. xi. Sanitizer should be provided at the entry/exit point of every polling station.
  • Face Masks in reserves for those electors who are not carrying the mask will be kept.
  • Awareness posters on COVID should be displayed at visible locations.
  • Sitting arrangement in polling station for the polling personnel and polling agents shall be made as per the norms of social distancing.
  • If polling agent or counting agent is having temperature above the prescribed limit, then their reliever shall be allowed by Presiding Officer, who will keep a record accordingly.
  • During the process of identification of voter, the voters will require to lower the facemask for identification, when required.
  • At any given time, only 1(one) voter shall be allowed to stand in front of each polling official maintaining social distance.
  • Hand gloves shall be provided to the voter, for signing on the voter register and pressing button of EVM for voting.
  • Sanitizers shall be kept inside the booth at appropriate locations with clear direction for the use by voters.
  • COVID patients and all other who may be under quarantine will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective polling stations, under the supervision of health authorities, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures. Sector Magistrates shall coordinate this activity in their allocated polling stations.

The Commission has also banned victory celebrations and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate.

The Election Commission had faced severe flak from various quarters after the deadly second wave of COVID-19 hit the country in March-April last year as the holding of assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam was among the factors blamed for the surge.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published Date: January 8, 2022 11:29 PM IST

Updated Date: January 8, 2022 11:40 PM IST