Kerala all set for polling; here’s a guide on how to cast your vote

Illustration: Manorama

Voters in Kerala will elect their representatives to Parliament on Friday. With barely hours left for the voting to start, here is a glance at the procedures to be followed at the polling booths:

On reaching the allotted polling booth, the voter has to wait in a queue until the security personnel allows them to enter.

Step 1
Once inside the booth, the voter will meet the ‘First polling officer’, who will verify their voter’s ID and serial number in the voters’ list. Subsequently, the officer will announce their serial number loudly.

On hearing their serial number, polling agents belonging to various parties – who would be present in the booth – will check the voters’ list to confirm their identity.

Step 2
The voter will next approach the ‘Second polling officer’, who will mark their left-hand index finger with indelible ink. Meanwhile, their serial number would be entered in Form 17A, which is the register of voters. If the voter presents their voter’s ID as proof, the letters ‘EP’ will be written in the register. In case other documents are produced, it will be mentioned in the form, along with the last four digits of its number. The voter will then be asked to sign on the register or mark their thumb impression.

An election official marks a voter's finger with the indelible ink during the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Aurangabad. Photo: PTI

Step 3
The ‘Third polling officer’, who is in charge of the control unit of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), will inspect the ink mark on the voter's finger and press the ‘BALLOT’ button on the control unit. Once this is done, a red light marked ‘Busy’ on the control unit will become active. Simultaneously, a green light marked ‘Ready’ will also become active on the ballot unit.

How to cast your vote
Next, the voter has to enter the voting counter. The ballot unit of the EVM will display the name, photo and symbol of each candidate in the constituency. The voter has to press the blue button adjacent to the details of the candidate they wish to vote for. When they press the blue button, the green light showing ‘Ready’ will go off. At the same time, another light near the name of the candidate they voted for will shine in red colour.

voting machine
Representational image. Photo: AFP

After their vote is cast, the VVPAT machine will release a print which shows the name, symbol and serial number of the candidate they voted for. These details would also be displayed on the window of the machine for seven seconds.

During this time, the control unit will emit a beep to announce to everyone present in the booth that the individual's vote has been cast.

If the VVPAT machine does not produce the ballot slip or the beep is not heard, the voter must bring the issue to the attention of the presiding officer of the booth.

Polling booths in Kerala
Total number of booths: 25,231
Pink booths managed exclusively by women polling officials: 555
Booths where all officers are youths: 100
Booths in which all officers are differently-abled: 10
Model polling booths: 2,776

Various queues
There would be three queues in polling booths – women, men and differently-abled.

Only three or four voters would be allowed into a booth at a time. Preference will be given to elderly citizens, pregnant women and women accompanied by infants.

People having physical ailments and those arriving in wheelchairs can use the ramp to enter the booth.

If there are voters in the queue at 6 pm – the closing time of polling - they would be given tokens and allowed to vote. Voters arriving at the booth after 6 pm cannot exercise their franchise.

Things to note
The polling officers have been instructed to check whether voters have applied oil or grease on the left index finger to erase the ink. If such suspicions arise, the polling officer has to wipe the index finger of the voter thoroughly with a cloth before applying the ink. In the event of a re-poll, the middle finger of the left hand would be marked with indelible ink.

The rules say that the slips given to voters by booth-level officers (BLOs) and political parties should be white. The slip should not display any party symbol or name of the candidate.

Documents to prove identity
The photo ID card issued by the Election Commission is the document to be presented by voters at the polling booth to exercise their franchise. However, if for some reason a voter cannot produce his/her voter’s ID on the day of polling, any one of the following 12 documents is sufficient to cast the vote: Aadhaar card; job card issued to workers of employment guarantee scheme; bank/post office passbook with photo; health insurance smart card issued by Central Labour Ministry; driving licence; PAN card; smart card issued by Registrar General of India under National Population Registry; Indian passport; pension document with photo; any photo ID issued by Central and state governments, public sector undertakings and public limited companies to employees; and UDID card of differently-abled persons.

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