GHMC elections: Face covers, physical distancing mandatory in view of COVID-19

Hyderabad:  Ahead of the GHMC elections in Hyderabad, the Election Commission on Tuesday issued guidelines for the safe conduct of polls during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines ranged from mandatory use of face covers, allowing public meeting subject to physical distancing among other safety norms.

More than thirty thousand police personnel will be deployed for GHMC elections and municipal elections in Hyderabad will be held on December 1 as per the Election Commission of India COVID-19 guidelines.

The EC’s guidelines for elections include allowing online submission of nomination forms, affidavits, and security amount, and limiting the number of people accompanying candidates for filing nomination to two.

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Further, the election commission stated, “Public gatherings/rallies may be conducted subject to adherence to extant COVID-19 guidelines,” while limiting the number of people allowed for door-to-door campaigning to five, including the candidate.

“Public meetings shall be permissible with suitable instructions subject to containment instructions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs/State. Face mask, sanitizer, thermal scanners, gloves, face shield, and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms,” an EC statement said.

For voters on the polling day, the guidelines are wearing face masks, using sanitizers, and maintaining a physical distance. The polling staff would wear protective gear.

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The elections will be conducted using ballot papers, instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

While masks are mandatory for voters, they would be asked to lower the masks for identification when required. Sanitizers would be kept at the entry as well inside booths.

In case a voter is found to have a high temperature, even after a re-check, they would be given a token number and asked to cast the vote during the last hour of polling. Also, those suffering from COVID-19 would be allowed to cast their votes in the last hour of polling with preventive measures being followed.

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