As many as 20,760 persons from Gujarat, who are with central armed/paramilitary forces and posted across the country, have been registered as `Classified Service Voters’ (CSVs) who can vote by postal ballot or through proxy voters.

State’s chief electoral officer Anita Karwal said that last date for armed forces personnel to register as CSVs is November 24 for the constituencies covered in the phase I of voting, and November 30 for the phase II constituencies.

After the final list of candidates is prepared, Ms. Karwal said, postal ballot papers would be despatched to the CSVs within 48 hours. Voters can send the ballot papers back to their respective constituencies before 8 am on the counting day.

The other alternative, she said, is to appoint a proxy voter.

Interestingly, in the 2007 Assembly polls, only 9,429 postal ballot votes and two proxy votes were registered.

Ms. Karwal said a male personnel can appoint wife as a proxy voter, but a female personnel cannot appoint husband as a proxy voter. She did not explain the rationale.

The list of CSVs is never made public.

According to the Election Commission of India (ECI) notification of September 2003, the proxy voter has to be resident of the concerned constituency, at least 18 years old, not disqualified for registration as a voter himself/herself.

The proxy is entitled to vote on behalf of the CSV in addition to casting his/her own vote. The ink-mark to indicate proxy-voting is made on the middle finger of left hand.