Tamil Nadu

Senior citizens, people with disabilities cast postal vote

Voting from home: An elderly couple cast their vote at home through the postal ballot in Chennai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PICHUMANI K

With the Election Commission allowing postal ballots for those aged above 80, people with disabilities, and COVID-19 patients, these voters have been casting heir votes in the last few days for the Assembly election from home.

On Tuesday, I. Krishnammal, 86, and her husband P. Iswaran, 91, cast their votes from their home in Anna Nagar. “I wanted to vote this time without any hassle and am happy that I could do so from my home. Officials from the corporation and the police came home with the ballot paper and both me and my husband cast our votes,” she said.

Mr. Iswaran said he was happy to have voted from home and not missed out on exercising his franchise.

A resident of Thiruporur, V. Saravanan, said his father K. Veerappan, 86, would be casting his vote through the postal ballot. “While there are wheelchairs available at the polling booths, senior citizens are sometimes expected to wait in line. My father needs quick access to rest rooms and we were initially worried this year as to how he would manage. We are happy now that he can vote from home,” he said.

The Chennai District Election Office has received around 50% of postal ballots from senior citizens and persons with disabilities in 16 Assembly constituencies as on March 28. The process was expected to be completed in two days, officials said.

Seventy teams of the Greater Chennai Corporation, polling officials and the police have received postal ballots from 3,004 people. Thyagaraya Nagar has polled the highest number of postal ballots so far. Of the 536 postal ballots issued to senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the Thyagaraya Nagar Assembly constituency, officials have received 491 postal ballots. Thiru Vi Ka Nagar received just 42 postal ballots so far.

As many as 9,000 people applied for postal ballots in 16 Assembly constituencies of the city, and election officials found that 7,300 were eligible.

As many as 114 persons with disabilities cast their votes through postal ballot. The largest number of postal votes from persons with disabilities was received from Mylapore constituency.

Better coverage needed

Disability rights activists raised concerns about the number of eligible voters receiving Form 12 D when it was being distributed earlier this month. In a representation to the Disability Commissioner, they said they were not approached by the BLOs with the form and had asked for the need to engage with disability groups to disseminate information better about the election process.

“There should have been better coverage with regard to reaching out to voters with disabilities in the city. We are not aware of how many persons with disabilities across the city had visits from officials and were given Form 12 D,” said D. Gnana Bharathi, president, Spinal Injured Persons Association.

M. Abhishek said that an option like this was being offered to persons with disabilities for the first time and better planning to raise awareness about the same as well as flexibility would have helped more persons cast their votes through postal ballots.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 6:49:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/senior-citizens-people-with-disabilities-vote-from-their-home/article34193887.ece

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