Election Commission of India tweaks postal ballot procedure

The Election Commission of India has issued new instructions that make postal ballot more convenient for the people with disabilities and those above 80 years of age.

As per new instructions, a Booth Level Officer (BLO) will visit the houses of the concerned electors in the polling station area and deliver 12-D form. The elector may or may not opt for postal ballot in the acknowledgement attached with the form 12-D. In case the elector goes for postal ballot, then the BLO will collect the filled-in form 12-D from the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the Returning Officer (RO). Thereafter, the Returning Officer will deploy polling team, who will deliver and collect the postal ballot on a pre-informed date and deposit it with the RO.

Under the new system, those willing to use the facility have to fill up a form and officials then carry the ballot to the residence of such voters and videograph the voting to ensure transparency.

These instructions have been issued based on the feedback the poll panel received from civil society and media during the visit of the EC team to poll-bound Bihar last week. The EC said these 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.

Meanwhile, the ECI has appointed two former Indian Revenue Service officers — Madhu Mahajan of 1982 batch and B.R. Balakrishnan of 1983 batch — as special expenditure observers for the Bihar polls to oversee efforts by the enforcement machinery to check attempts to induce voters with cash, liquor and freebies.



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