The Election Commission of India said that those over the age of 80 years, Covid-19 patients and primary contacts can exercise their franchise using postal ballots in the upcoming Assembly elections.
During a press conference on Friday, the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates of upcoming Assembly elections in Kerala, Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Union Home Ministry announced Covid-19 guidelines that would be adhered to during the complete election process. According to guidelines, a list of those testing positive for Covid-19 and their primary contacts would be made separately.
During the press briefing, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora announced that those over 80 years and Covid positive patients can vote using postal ballots. The EC said it would prepare a list of Covid patients and first contacts and send the ballots to their residence. However, it is not compulsory for people on these lists to vote using postal ballots. The EC also said that 80-year-old citizens and the differently-abled are allowed to arrive at the polling booths anytime to cast their vote. Covid-19 patients and first contacts are allowed to exercise their franchise in the last hour of voting.
The EC also informed that only five people including the candidate are allowed to go campaigning house-to-house. Citizens are allowed to vote from 7 am to 6 pm. The CEC said that all polling booths will be on the ground floor. To avoid crowding of people in Covid-19 times, the EC decided to increase the number of polling booths.
When it comes to filing nominations, the EC said that candidates can file the nomination papers online. The EC said that only two persons are allowed to accompany the candidate for filing nomination. After filing the nomination papers, the candidate should submit the printout of the nomination papers to the returning officer.