Kerala

Ballot papers to be given to COVID-19 patients from December 2

The distribution of special postal ballot papers to active COVID-19 and quarantined voters in the five districts included in the first phase of the local body elections will begin on December 2, the State Election Commission (SEC) has said.

The initial certified list prepared for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki on Sunday contained 24,621 special voters. This included 8,568 active COVID-19 patients and 16,053 electors currently in quarantine, State Election Commissioner V. Bhaskaran said. The certified lists will continue to be prepared on a daily basis till 3 p.m. on December 7.

The five districts that go to polls on December 8 have 88,26,620 voters in all, including 70 transgender voters, Mr. Bhaskaran said.

The polling officials would intimate the voter beforehand of their proposed visit. The candidates also will be informed, he said.

By special teams

The ballot papers will be distributed by teams consisting of one Special Polling Officer (SPO), one Special Polling Assistant (SPA) and a police officer.

In the three-tier grama panchayats, the voters will be issued three sets of ballot papers (grama panchayat, block panchayat and district panchayat) and three declaration forms that have to be attested by the SPO. However, a single application would suffice for all three ballots, Mr. Bhaskaran said.

In the case of the second category of special voters — voters who test positive or go into quarantine after 3 p.m. on December 7 and till the end of voting — can visit the polling booths directly to cast their vote. They have to report between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. but will be allowed to enter the booths only after all other voters, including those issued tokens, have voted. Special voters are, however, required to arrive before 6 p.m. at the polling station.

Mr. Bhaskaran said that safeguards, including PPE kits, will be taken to ensure the safety of polling officials during the visit of active COVID-19 voters.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 6:16:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ballot-papers-to-be-given-to-covid-19-patients-from-december-2/article33217141.ece

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