* These 'Absentee Voters' include PwDs, senior citizens and COVID-affected persons
GUWAHATI: The ECI (Election of Commission of India) has allowed postal voting for three categories of electorates during the forthcoming Assembly polls in Assam. The ECI in a letter to Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, also issued the guidelines for voting through postal ballot by these 'Absentee Voters' in the categories of 'Senior citizens' (above 80 years of age), PwDs (persons with Disabilities), and COVID-19 suspect or affected persons.
The ECI further directed the State Chief Electoral Officer to bring these new provisions to the notice of District Election Officers (DEOs), Returning Officers (ROs) and other election authorities concerned besides the State units of recognized political parties and all registered unrecognized political parties based in the State.
Referring to the procedure, the ECI guidelines stated, "An 'Absentee Voter' wishing to vote by postal ballot has to make application to the RO of the Constituency concerned, in Form-12D, giving all requisite particulars. Such application should reach the RO during the period from the date of announcement of election to five days following the date of notification of the election.
"The BLO (Booth Level Officers) will visit the houses of absentee voters, as per details provided by the RO, in the Polling Station area and deliver 'Form 12D' to the concerned electors and obtain acknowledgements from them. The BLOs will have to deposit all the acknowledgements obtained from the electors with the RO."
Mentionably, each polling station is assigned a BLO.
The ECI guidelines added, "If an elector is not available, the BLO will share his/her contact details and revisit to collect it within five days of the notification.
"If the elector opts for the 'Postal Ballot', then the BLO will collect the filled-in-Form 12D from the house of the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the RO forthwith. The Sector Officer shall supervise the process of distribution and collection of Form 12) by BLOs under the overall supervision of RO."
The polling officials will brief the electors and also collect the marked ballot papers (after the vote is cast on postal ballot).
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