Kerala

Postal ballot for Kerala essential service staff too

Postal ballots will be issued to personnel in notified essential services, including health officials, police, and journalists, for the upcoming Assembly elections, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena said on Saturday.

The earlier decision was to issue postal ballots to voters in the ‘Absentee Voter’ category, which included 80-plus voters, the differently abled, the COVID-19-positive and service voters.

Notified essential services include health, police and prison officials; fire and rescue service personnel; excise, Milma, water and power supply, forest, State road transport and treasury services staff; and staff of Central government institutions such as All India Radio, Doordarshan, BSNL, Railways, and Post and Telegraph.

Ambulance, media

Ambulance personnel and mediapersons authorised by the Election Commission to cover the polls also will be issued the postal ballots.

Postal ballots are optional.

Distribution of the 12-D consent form to special category voters will begin soon. The commission has identified 6,21,401 80 years-plus voters, 1.3 lakh voters in the People with Disabilities (PwD) category, and 56,759 service voters.

Three days after the nominations are finalised, four-member teams consisting of two polling officials, one security personnel, and a videographer, will start distributing postal ballots. The electors and the candidates will be informed ahead of the team’s visit of the team. The vote has to be cast and the ballots returned on the spot.

COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 patients can visit polling booths to cast their votes in the last hour of polling. Every voter will be thermally screened at the entry points. People whose body temperature exceeds the prescribed limit will be asked to wait. They will be screened after an hour. If the temperature is still high, they will be asked to vote in the final hour.

Voters will be required to lower their face masks for identification. PwD category voters will be provided transportation. They will also be issued special passes for travel by public transportation.

Braille slips

Braille slips will be issued to visually challenged voters. All polling booths will also have a dummy ballot in braille on the table of the presiding officer. Visually challenged voters will have an opportunity to run a trial on them. In all, 45,000 dummy braille slips will be printed.

As for electronic voting machines (EVMs), the Election Commission has arranged 52,782 ballot units, 49,475 control units, and 53,183 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, Mr. Meena said.

A committee headed by the Chief Secretary will screen government files that require clearance under the model code of conduct, which came into force on Friday evening. Important files will be sent to the Chief Electoral Officer for clearance.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 4:59:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/postal-ballot-for-kerala-essential-service-staff-too/article33950811.ece

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