EC pauses postal ballot for 65+ voters in Bihar polls, cites constraints
In several Covid health advisories, people over the age of 65 have been asked not to venture out as they are particularly vulnerable to catching the highly contagious virus.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 19:46 IST
The Election Commission on Thursday hit pause on a government rule that would have allowed voters over 65 years to use postal ballots to vote in the Bihar assembly elections, citing challenges and constraints to implement this rule. The postal ballot rule would, however, be applicable for voters over the age of 80, disabled or those suffering from coronavirus.
“Commission has 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-19 situations,” the EC said in a press statement today.
In view of the Covid-19 situation, the poll body said, it has already created additional 34,000 polling stations, which roughly equals to 45% more and will also increase the number of polling stations to 1,06,000.
The EC said it has been monitoring the electoral preparedness for Bihar assembly elections, the dates for which are yet to be announced.
When the rules were first amended the Congress had alleged that the government had not consulted any political party, other than the ruling one, to amend the poll conduct rules ahead of the Bihar election.
Earlier, the ministry of law and justice amended the conduct rules on June 19, on the recommendation of the EC, to allow senior citizens over the age of 65 to vote using postal ballots in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In several Covid health advisories, people over the age of 65 have been asked not to venture out as they are particularly vulnerable to catching the highly contagious virus.
Casting votes through postal ballots was available only to armed forces and officials assigned poll duties till now.In February, Delhi became the first state to experiment with postal ballots, extending the facilities to those with severe disabilities or above the age of 80 years.