1st time in India, senior citizens, Covid hit people to cast vote at home

Imphal: For the first time in India, a section of voters including senior citizens, Covid-19 affected individuals, and persons with disabilities would be allowed to cast their vote through the postal ballot at the homes for the two-phased elections to the Manipur assembly, on February 27 and March 3, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra said on Tuesday.

The CEC said that senior citizens, Covid-19 suspects or affected individuals, and persons with disabilities would cast their vote through the Postal ballot at their homes in presence of the representative of the concerned candidate, micro observers, booth level officials (BLO).

“This new initiative at the door step of the voters would be done by following the total secrecy and transparency. Entire process would be video-graphed,” Chandra told the media.

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The CEC said that the postal ballot facility is an optional service and it would ensure total secrecy.

Regarding service voters, the CEC said that an Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System had been instituted and 21,935 service voters, who are associated with the election process, have been mapped in Manipur and they can avail the scope.

The CEC expressed pleasure that Manipur has 749 centenarian voters with Senapati district having the maximum number of 110 centenarian electors and directed the Chief Electoral Officer and District Election Officers to felicitate such centenarian voters who can act as role models for the youngsters.

Stressing on measures taken to make the elections truly accessible, Chandra said that appropriate facilitation including pick up and drop, wheel-chairs, volunteers support and postal ballot facility would be provided to all the mapped otherwise abled and 80 plus senior citizen voters in the state.

To improve the voter turnout in the forthcoming election, the CEC said that 300 low voter turnout polling booths have been identified under Mission 300 Programme by CEO Manipur and Focussed Booth Level Action Plan had been prepared by engaging BLO, local clubs, women organisations and elderly voters.

The CEC accompanied by Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar, Anup Chandra Pandey and senior officials of the Commission arrived in the poll-bound Manipur on Monday on a two day visit and held a series of meetings with the political parties and senior officials to review the assembly election preparation.

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