Assembly Elections: People Including Journalists Now Allowed To Vote Using Postal Ballot

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed certain persons in five states to exercise their franchise by using the postal ballot facility.

The commission has announced that employees serving in 11 sectors, including journalists will be allowed to vote using the postal ballot facility. A notice has been sent to the chief electoral offices of Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa.

Aged, Disabled And COVID Positive Patients Get Exemptions

The commission had earlier allowed voters of 80 years and above, persons with disabilities (more than 40%) and COVID positive patients to cast their vote through postal ballot.

Casting votes through postal ballots in Uttar Pradesh has been permitted to employees health and family welfare, traffic department, postal department, electricity, railways, civil aviation, metro and information and public relation departments. Employees in All India Radio, Doordarshan and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited can also vote using postal ballots.

Likewise, in other states too, media persons assigned to cover the elections are allowed to cast their votes using postal ballots. Other departments include the Airport Authority of India (AAI), fire service and Food Corporation of India (FCI).

What Is A Postal Ballot?

The practice of postal ballots has been going on in the country for a long time. The system of the postal ballot is used for those voters who cannot be physically present to cast their votes due to various reasons such as the deployment of soldiers in different areas, immobility of persons with disability, old-age persons among others.

ECI provides the facility to these voters to cast their votes through postal ballot. Postal ballots have now been digitised and voting is done through the e-postal ballot system. On the counting day, postal ballots are counted first.

As its name suggests, it is similar to the paper ballot which is posted from a location to the poll booth and it has been in practice since the 1980s. It is used in elections by those people who are unable to vote in their constituency due to their jobs and other purposes. These voters are also called service voters or absentee voters.

People who use the postal ballot include;

  • Soldiers
  • Staff on election duty
  • Government officials working outside the country
  • People in preventive detention (Prisoners do not have the right to vote)
  • Voters above 80 years of age (registration is required)
  • Persons with disabilities (Registration has to be done)