This is being done to ensure that there are no chances of transmission of virus through the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the state government on Monday to finalise the process of reservation of seats in the panchayat polls, keeping 2015 as the base year.
Tamil Nadu elections and coronavirus: As the country is gearing up for five state assembly elections, Tamil Nadu is working to ensure that elections are carried out in accordance with coronavirus protocol. Accordingly, the voters infected with COVID-19 would be given PPE kits to cast their votes, while all others would get hand gloves. The decision was announced by state Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, a report by news agency PTI said. This is being done to ensure that there are no chances of transmission of virus through the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The state is going to polls on April 6 and for the elections, the Election Commission would also ensure that all other preventive measures, like thermal screening, are followed at the booths. Wearing masks and practicing social distancing at the polling stations is mandatory, Sahoo said. Apart from that, in case of a person having a fever or suspected to be infected with COVID-19, they would get a medical certificate and would get to vote in the last one hour of the polling. The PPE kits to these patients would be provided by the authorities, and the arrangements have been made to ensure the availability of the kits.
Due to the pandemic, the number of personnel as well as the polling stations have been increased, which is why the state would now have close to 89,000 booths, as against about 68,000. More than 4.79 lakh personnel would be manning these booths, Sahoo said. The state has a total of 76 counting centres, the report added.
For the first time, at least 50% of the booths would be monitored using web cameras, something that was previously only done for polling stations that were sensitive and vulnerable.
Voters over the age of 80 years, those infected with COVID-19 and those suffering from a disability would be able to also opt for postal ballot if they so desire, and in such a case, they would have to inform their respective Returning Officers of their preference. This would have to be done on or before March 16, and then the District Election Officers would arrange for the process of issuing ballots to such voters.
General observers and police observers have been deployed already, with all the preparations being carried out for the polling as per the guidelines. The state would allow for nomination of candidates from March 12 to March 19, of which Saturday and Sunday would not be open for filing of applications.