The Election Commission of India has allowed journalists to cast their votes through postal ballot facility, according to an official statement of the office of Punjab chief electoral officer on Sunday. Voting for Punjab’s 117 assembly seats will be held on February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. The ECI has allowed media persons, authorised by the poll body, to exercise their franchise using postal ballot facility, said the statement.
“Mediapersons, during a press conference, had asked Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju to include them in absentee voters so that they can cast their votes using the postal ballot facility,” it said. Raju said any absentee voter wishing to vote by 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. He said any voter opting for postal ballot facility would not be able to cast a vote at the polling station.
Earlier, the commission had allowed voters aged 80 and above, people with disabilities and COVID-19 patients to cast their votes through postal ballots. Those involved in essential services, including personnel of the Food Civil Supplies and the Consumer Affairs, the Food Corporation of India, the All India Radio, Doordarshan, post and telegraph, the railways, BSNL, power, health, fire services and civil aviation can also opt for the facility in case they are on duty, the statement sad. Meanwhile, postal voting centres (PVCs) will be open for up to three consecutive days in all the constituencies before the date fixed for state assembly polls. On each of the three days, the PVC will remain open from 9 am to 5pm, it said.