New Delhi: In the coming Assembly elections in Karnataka, for the first time, people aged above 80 and persons with disabilities (PwDs) can vote from the comfort of their homes if they are unable to go out to exercise their franchise.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced that it has introduced a Vote-From-Home (VFH) facility for the 12.15 lakh people aged above 80 (including 16,976 centenarians) and 5.55 lakh benchmarked PwDs in the Assembly elections.
Addressing media persons in New Delhi this noon, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said, “For the first time, the ECI will provide this facility. Our teams will go to the homes of those who desire to vote from their home with a form 12D (which will be available within five days of the election notification) and facilitate the exercise of their franchise.”
“Although we encourage those above 80 years to come to the polling station and vote in the festival of democracy, those who cannot, can avail of this facility. All precautions will be taken to ensure the secrecy of their votes and the entire process will be videographed. All political parties and candidates will be informed whenever there is a movement for VFH,” he said.
The CEC said senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) would be given facilities of wheelchairs and volunteers at polling stations, priority in voting, pick up/drop and a dedicated parking facility.
A mobile Saksham PwD application has been developed to facilitate services at polling stations and Braille ballot facility for the visually impaired, he said.
How this facility works?
Officials from the District Administrations, City Corporations, City Municipal Councils and Panchayats will visit the homes of those having a voter ID card and are above 80 years of age or have any disabilities with a Form called 12-D.
Consent will be taken from them regarding whether they wish to vote from home or will go to the polling booth to cast their votes. Those who are unable to visit the polling booth can cast their votes using the postal ballot system brought to their homes by Booth Level Officers.
The Returning Officer will deploy polling teams, who will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and deposit it with the Returning Officer. Sector Officer will supervise the process of distribution and collection of Form 12D.
A polling team — two polling officials along with a videographer and security — will go to the elector’s house along with a Voting Compartment and get the elector to vote on the postal ballot maintaining complete secrecy of vote. The entire process will be videographed.