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Postal ballot facilities expanded

Topics Covered:

  1. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

 

Postal ballot facilities expanded

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Amendments, definitions and features.

For Mains: The need for and significance of postal ballot.

 

Context: Election Commission of India has started working on detailed guidelines and SoPs to facilitate the process of postal ballot paper for Absentee voters of essential services, Senior citizens of more than 80 years and marked PwD electors.

 

Background:

On October 22, the Law Ministry amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, to extend the facility of postal ballots to people who are unable to cast their vote because of service conditions.

The amendment comes after the EC wrote to the Law Ministry two months ago proposing that voters on duty in fields such as aviation, shipping, Railways, emergency services, those employed in long-distance road transport, the elderly, the physically-challenged, and journalists covering elections should be allowed to vote by postal ballot in upcoming Assembly elections.

 

Key facts:

  • A concept of ‘absentee voter’ has been introduced and defined for the elections.
  • People under the new category can choose to vote through postal ballot by filling up Form 12D and submitting it to the nodal officer within five days of notification of an election.
  • These votes will be registered at a special centre specified by the Election Commission (EC).

 

Definition- absentee voter: An absentee voter is someone who is employed in “essential services”. The EC will notify which jobs and professions are covered under “essential services” after consulting the government.

 

Way ahead:

There is need for laying special emphasis to ensure that the electors who are also Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens are facilitated in every way to ensure their wider participation in the electoral process.

There is now need for the creation of requisite infrastructure and suitable legal framework to facilitate the process. 

 

Sources: the Hindu.