Thiruvananthapuram: Those above 80 years of age are among the three categories of voters who can opt for postal ballots for the upcoming Assembly election in Kerala under a special arrangement being made in the wake of the acute persistence of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Persons with disabilities who are registered on the electoral roll and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected to have the infection can also opt for postal ballots.
It is up to the voter to decide whether one should avail the facility. If the voter opts for the postal ballot, then only postal vote can be made. The voter then cannot vote at the polling booth on the election day.
A booth-level officer (BLO) will visit the house of the voter concerned and hand over the Form 12D. If the voter opts for postal ballot, the BLO will have to collect the filled-up form from the voter’s house and submit it to the returning officer within five days of being notified.
An elector, who is in quarantine at home or at a centre, should submit the 12D form to the returning officer along with the quarantine certificate.
Opposition fears bogus voting risk
As per a preliminary assessment, about 7,000 votes in each constituency could fall in the postal vote category if the above three categories are allowed postal ballots. The opposition has serious apprehensions that the postal votes would pave the way for widespread bogus voting that could influence the election results decisively.
The opposition alleges that though special teams would be constituted at the district level to distribute postal votes casting of bogus votes is possible by influencing and threatening the officials.
Temperature checks on election day
The body temperature of the elector would be checked twice on the election day. If higher than the normal temperature, the voter would be given a token or certificate to vote in the final hour of polling, as per the COVID-19 guidelines.
These are mentioned in the guidelines issued by the Chief Electoral Officer in the state.
SMS, app to locate your polling booth
Facilities such as SMS, app and portal would be available to locate the polling station. Voters can find their polling station by searching on the portal (voterportal.eci.gov.in). Or else they can send an SMS to the number 1950 in the format ECIPS space EPIC NO.
The voter can also alternatively download the Voter Helpline App from the Play Store and find the polling booth. The voter slip can also be obtained through this app. Along with the voters' ID card, the elector can take this slip to the polling booth.