22.72 lakh voters to exercise their franchise today

Amid elaborate arrangements, about 22.72 lakh voters are likely to exercise their franchise in the Ernakulam and Chalakkudy constituencies as part of the polling for 16th Lok Sabha elections on Thursday.

According to officials, the preparations for the polling will begin with a mock polling, to be carried out at each of the booths about an hour before the actual polling starts. The presiding officers are responsible to set the Electronic Voting Machines and linking the control unit with the ballot units.

Before commencing the poll, the officer will also conduct a test operation of the EVMs in the presence of the election agents and make sure that the machine is in perfect working order and that no vote has already been recorded in the machine.

Meanwhile, the entry of voters into the booths will be regulated and separate queues will be made for male and female voters. Electors are required to produce the electoral photo identity card to establish their identity.

Before voting, the elector should make sure that the machine is ready for voting by verifying the indicator bulb on top of the EVM and push the blue button given against the name of the candidate of their choice.

On Wednesday, the distribution of polling materials to the presiding officers was completed at the respective distribution centres in each of the seven Assembly constituencies.

As many as 10,379 officers have been deployed for poll duty in the 2,027 booths across Ernakulam and Chalakkudy, in addition to 158 sectoral officers.

Help desk will be functioning in each of the booths and the service of NSS and NCC volunteers will be available for assisting the voters.

To ensure smooth conduct of the polls, 4,600 police personnel and two companies of Special Armed Police from Karanataka will be deployed at the polling stations. The authorities are also planning to live-webcast activities from 10 select constituencies in Ernakulam, which includes five in Vypeen, four in Kochi and one in Thripunithura Assembly constituencies.

Reviewing the arrangements, District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam said polling would be held from for eleven consecutive hours from 7 am to 6 pm. He also urged voters to bring any of the eleven photo-id cards as approved by the Election Commission and sought their cooperation in ensuring a free and fair election. “We have made all the arrangements to enable the citizens to exercise their franchise and make the polling process a big success,” he said.

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