‘New Rules for Postal Ballot’

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    13th Oct, 2020

Context

In order 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 (EC) has come out with a set of new instructions.

About

What are the new instructions?

  • The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered by the booth level officer under his polling station, at the residence of-
    • all those above 80 years of age
    • people with disabilities
  • It would be up to these two category of voters to opt for postal ballot
  • If he/she opts for postal ballot, then the booth level officer 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 avail this facility?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Voters under preventive detention can also vote only by post.

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.
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