Thiruvananthapuram: Campaigning for the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly election shifted to silent mode in all the 140 constituencies on Monday, a day after the end of the open campaign. The distribution of polling materials started on Monday morning in all the constituencies, where 957 candidates are seeking the mandate of 2.74 crore voters.
The polling, commencing at 7am, will conclude at 7pm on Tuesday, except in nine constituencies where Maoist threat is suspected. Polling would end one hour early at 6pm in these constituencies.
Everywhere COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine could cast their votes during the final one hour of polling. They need to arrive clad in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
Candidates and political activists engaged in hectic activities and took out road shows in a show of strength on Sunday evening though COVID-19 had once again played spoilsport with the Election Commission banning the grand finale – 'Kalasakkottu' in Malayalam – marking the end of the open campaign.
The Commission had also banned the 'kalasakkottu' during the local body polls last December.
COVID-19 protocol would be in place in all the booths. Body temperature would be checked before allowing the voter in the booth. Those with above normal temperature would be asked to wait before they would be checked again.
In cases of a voter’s body temperature remaining high even after three checks, he/she would be issued a token. The voter would be allowed to return during the final one hour of polling and cast his/her vote after presenting the token.
Polling booths would have separate queues for women, men, senior citizens and the differently-abled.
How to find your polling station
A voter could find his/her polling station from the voter slip or over the website www.voterportal.eci.gov.in or the mobile phone app, Voter Helpline. Sending an SMS to 1950 would also help in finding the station. The SMS format is ECIPS<Space>ID card number.
Dial 1950 for enquiries
Respective District Collectorates could be reached over 1950 for clearing election-related doubts. The facility, however, would be available only during office hours.
Searching www.voterportal.eci.gov.in, www.ceo.kerala.gov.in, using the voter ID card number would help to find if your name has been included in the electoral rolls. Besides, using the mobile phone app, Voter Helpline, and downloading the entire voters’ list of a particular booth would also help in finding the voter in the rolls.
As many as nine identification documents are acceptable at the booth:
1. Voter ID Card
2. Aadhaar Card
3. Employment Card
4. PAN Card
5. Bank/Post Office passbook with photograph
6. Health Insurance Smart Card
7. Driving Licence
9. Photo ID Cards issued to State/Central government employees
Protocol for COVID-19 patients
COVID-19 patients and primary contacts will be allowed to vote only during the final hour (6pm to 7pm) of polling. If there is already a queue, they will be allowed in only after others have cast their votes.
1. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit, gloves and N95 mask are mandatory for COVID-19 patients and primary contacts. Polling officials, too, will be in PPE gear.
2. Queues should be avoided. Such voters should reach the respective booths without getting into contact with others.
3. Only one person will be allowed in the booth at a time.
4. After casting vote, the gloves should be disposed of in a specially arranged box.
5. Hands should be sanitized before and after casting votes.
Inside the booth
1. On entering the booth, the first polling officer will provide the voter slip, and check the voters’ list. Lower the mask while checking the Voter ID Card.
2. The second polling officer will hand over a slip after marking the finger with the indelible ink.
3. The third polling officer will check the finger for the mark and accept the slip.
4. The voter can now cast his vote on the electronic voting machine. S/he needs to press the button against the candidate and symbol of her/his preference. The beep signifies the registering of the vote.
5. The voter can immediately check the VVPAT machine to ascertain whether the preferred candidate has received the vote. The machine will display the candidate’s roll number and symbol.
6. Before leaving, dispose of the gloves in the specified box and sanitize the hands.