Millennium Post

EC makes procedure to opt for postal ballot by elderly friendlier

New Delhi: 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.

The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station.

It would be up to these two category 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," according to the October 3 letter sent by EC to all state chief electoral officers.

These instructions have been issued based on the feedback the poll panel received from civil society and media during its visit to poll-bound Bihar last week. The EC said the fresh instructions would be applicable to all elections and by-elections, including the bypolls announced last week to 56 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat.

Bihar is going for a three-phase assembly poll beginning October 28.

As per the instructions, the returning officer would deploy polling teams, who will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and thereafter deposit it with the RO.

An official explained that this postal ballot facility is different from the one extended to service voters. Here, those willing to use the facility have to fill up a form.

Officials then carry the ballot to the residence of such voters and videograph the voting to ensure transparency.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has appointed two former Indian Revenue Service officers as special expenditure observers for the Bihar Assembly polls to oversee efforts by the enforcement machinery to check attempts to induce voters with cash, liquor and freebies.

Retired IRS officers Madhu Mahajan of 1982 batch and B R Balakrishnan of 1983 batch have been appointed as special expenditure observers for the Bihar polls, the Commission said in a statement on Sunday.

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