The election commission has facilitated Home Voting using Form 12D (Postal Ballot) for eligible voters over the age of 80 years and for those who are more than 40% Physically Challenged. The Postal Ballot facility has also been made available to approved Media personnel as well as government employees under certain categories.
The announcement as well as detailed explanation to this effect was made in a media conference chaired by the District Collector Arvind Poswal and ADM and Assistant District Election Officer Shailesh Surana.
The primary purpose of this meeting was to share information to representatives of political parties and media professionals regarding the postal ballot facility made available by the Election Commission of India for the forthcoming 2023 State Assembly General Elections. The meeting elaborated on the fact that the Election Commission of India has introduced home voting for senior citizens aged 80 and above, as well as individuals with more than 40% physical disabilities.
BLOs will send employees to the homes of these voters to help them vote. To do this, voters will have to fill out some forms in advance (as explained above). Secrecy and neutrality will be maintained as certain categories of officers will accompany the Ballot Officer to the homes of such persons. Not all BLOs are aware of this new arrangement just yet. In Rajasthan, around 1.805 lakh voters have been identified for this kind of voting.
Voting from Home is Entirely Optional
If a voter prefers, they can vote directly at the polling booth without the need for Form 12D. Once the application is submitted, postal ballots are provided, and the voter's name on the voter list is marked with "PB." Subsequently, eligible senior citizens and differently-abled voters designated for postal voting will be notified by the election team. The notification will specify the date and time when election officials will visit their homes to assist with the voting process. If the concerned voter is not available at home during the initial visit, the same process will be repeated at a later time, but not more than twice.
Postal Ballot Option for government Personnel in Essential Services
For the first time, the Election Commission of India is offering the option of Postal Ballots to essential services personnel. This includes roadways bus drivers and conductors, healthcare and medical education staff, firefighters, pump operators and turners from the Public Health Engineering Department, electricians and linemen from the Energy Department, as well as media personnel approved by the Election Commission.
These personnel, who are expected to be on duty and unable to vote at the polling booth on election day, will be provided with postal ballots. To accommodate these voters, a dedicated postal voting center will be established at the Returning Officer's office at least three days before the polling day. They will have the opportunity to cast their votes between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM on any of those days. In the meeting, it was clarified that in Udaipur district, there are 60,457 voters aged 80 years and above, along with 20,693 voters falling under the differently-abled category. Among these, those who apply for home voting using Form 12D will have the option to cast their votes conveniently from their homes.
In an effort to ensure a smooth electoral process and promote maximum voter participation, this meeting served as a crucial platform for various stakeholders.