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People over 80 years of age, disabled can now vote through postal ballot

The postal ballot facility has provided to the elderly above 80 years and disabled voters.

Oct 29, 2019 08:56 IST
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The Law Ministry has amended the Conduct of Election Rules 1961 to give voting and ballot voting to voters with disabilities and those above 80 years of age and include them in the category of 'absentee voters'.

In order to increase the vote percentage in the election, the government has provided the facility to the elderly and disabled voters above 80 years to vote with the postal ballot. The Law Ministry has issued a notification to implement this decision on 22 October on the recommendation of the Election Commission.

In the current system, only military, paramilitary personnel and government employees working abroad, as well as employees posted in election duty, are entitled to the postal ballot. According to an estimate, given the substantial number of such voters, the percentage of voting is likely to increase after getting this facility.

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Key Highlights
• The government has issued a notification, broadening the scope of the definition of absentee voter and has also provided the deployment of a nodal officer under the amended rules, which will verify the claims of joining the 'absentee voter' category.
• Now, the format of the application form, to be filled for claiming to be an absentee voter, has been prepared. 
• Senior citizens and disabled voters above 80 years of age can claim postal ballot by submitting this form.

Postal Ballot procedure
As per the revised rule, the person will apply in a new Form 12D, which will reach the Returning Officer within 5 days after the date of notification of election. A postal ballot paper will be issued to the elector (voting person) after receiving this application. The postal ballot will be deposited in the specified centre after recording the vote. Its purpose is to ensure the participation of older people or differently-abled persons in voting.

Present Scenario 
In India, the voters who have to vote at the residence even if they have changed their residence address. Only absentee voters vote with the e-postal ballot. In the last Lok Sabha election, 60.14 per cent of the absentee voters had voted through an e-postal ballot, compared to only four per cent in the 2014 general election.

According to this year's figures, the postal ballot voter turnout lists around 10 lakh military forces under the Ministry of Defense, 7.82 lakh paramilitary forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs and 3539 voters in the Foreign Ministry working in foreign missions.

What is Postal Ballot Paper?
Postal ballot papers are similar to the ballot paper. The voter uses his vote through these papers. However, everyone doesn’t have a right to use this. As per India’s election commission, voting facility through the postal ballot is available only to those doing election duties, army personnel, disabled people and senior citizens above 80 years of age. The ballot is sent through postal service to such employees and military officers who do not have any electronic facility. If the voters do not use it or do not receive it then it returns to the sender’s address.

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