GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed media persons authorised by it to exercise their franchise using the postal ballot facility for the upcoming assembly elections in five states. Earlier, the Commission had allowed people above the age of 80, those with disability (more than 40 per cent) and Covid-19 patients to vote using postal ballots.

What

  1. This is in addition to the already existing absentee voters categories who on account of being on duty on the day of polls would not be able to be present in their respective polling stations.
  2. Other essential service voters who can also opt for the postal ballot facility include Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Food Corporation of India, All India Radio, Doordarshan, Post and Telegraph, Railways, BSNL, Power, Health, Fire Services and Civil Aviation employees in case they are on duty.
  3. Pertinently, media persons during a press conference had raised a demand with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab S Karuna Raju to include them in absentee voters so that they can cast votes using the postal ballot facility.
  4. Any absentee voter wishing to vote using postal ballot has to make an application to the returning officer in Form-12D giving all requisite particulars and get the application verified by the nodal officer appointed by the organisation concerned.
  5. Such applications seeking postal ballot facility should reach the returning officer during the period between the date of announcement of election to five days following the date of notification of the election concerned.
  6. Any voter opting for postal ballot would not be able to cast a normal vote at a polling station.
  7. Meanwhile, the postal voting centre shall be open for up to three consecutive days in each constituency before the date fixed for the poll there. On each of the three days, the centre will be open from 9 am to 5 pm.
  8. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa are going to polls over the next two months.