Earlier, the Commission had recommended extension of optional postal ballot facilities to voters above 65 years. Based on recommendation, the Ministry of Law and Justice later notified the amended rules allowing postal ballot facility to this section.
The Election Commission of India on Thursday decided not to extend postal ballot facility to persons above the age of 65 in the coming assembly election in Bihar and by-elections due in the near future. However, facility of optional postal ballot to electors who are above 80 years of age, PwD Voters, the electors engaged in essential services and voters who are Covid Positive/suspect in quarantine (home/institutional) will be extended in these elections. The decision was by the Election Commission was taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic as aged people are supposedly more vulnerable to the infection.
Earlier, the Commission had recommended extension of optional postal ballot facilities to voters above 65 years. Based on recommendation, the Ministry of Law and Justice later notified the amended rules allowing postal ballot facility to this section. The decision was taken after various authorities said that older people were more vulnerable to infection. Today, the Commission said that this facility would pose a major logistic challenge.
The EC said that it has been monitoring the electoral preparedness for the coming by-elections and General elections of the Assembly in Bihar. It said that it had already limited the number of electors to one thousand for each polling station for ease of voting, especially for elderly and vulnerable sections of electors, in Covid situations. The Commission also informed that the state was creating additional 34,000 polling stations (45% more), which will increase the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000.
“This would entail formidable logistical challenges of mobilizing 1.8 lakh more polling personnel and other additional resources including requirement of much larger number of vehicles in the State of Bihar. Similar challenges would be there for the coming by-elections also. Considering all these challenges and constraints and in view of the decision to limit the number of electors at each polling station to 1000, the Commission has decided not to issue the notification to extend the facility of postal ballot to the electors above 65 years of age,” the EC said in a statement.