On Wednesday, the Kerala government proposed an ordinance permitting voters testing positive for Covid-19, or are under quarantine before or during the voting day, to vote during the last hour of polling in the upcoming local body election. The Election Commission has released a notification regarding the local body elections, which will be held next month.
The Pinarayi Vijayan chaired-state cabinet has decided to recommend Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to enact the ordinance by making appropriate amendments to the Kerala Panchayat Raj and Kerala Municipality Act. This will enable voters (testing positive for Covid-19/quarantined) to cast their votes safely from 5 pm to 6 pm (the last hours of polling).
Those seeking postal ballots must apply to the returning officer three days before the elections. After the voter votes, the postal ballots should be returned to the concerned authority. The health department will be preparing guidelines to ensure the safety of elections officials who will be present at the polling stations.
In December, the Commission has planned the elections in 1,199 local bodies across the state in three phases. On December 8, the first phase of the election will be underway in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki. On December 10, the second phase will be underway in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad. On December 14, the third phase will be underway in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod.