New Delhi [India], July 16 (ANI): Election Commission said on Thursday that it has decided not to extend postal ballot facility to voters above 65 years of age in Bihar assembly polls and other impending by-polls in view of the decision to limit the number of electors at each polling station to 1000 for which 45 per cent more polling stations will be created in the poll-bound state.
The Commission said that the facility of optional postal ballot to electors will be extended to voters who are above 80 years of age, persons with disability, electors engaged in essential services and people who are COVID- 19 positive or suspect and are in home or institutional quarantine.
"Considering all these issues, challenges and constraints and in view of the decision to limit the number of electors at each polling station to 1000, Commission has decided not to issue the notification to extend the facility of postal ballot to the electors above 65 years of age in the coming general elections in Bihar and by-elections due in the near future," an official release said.
An official of the commission said that the decision has been taken in view of constraints of logistics, manpower and safety protocols of COVID-19.
He said the commission is continuously assessing the field situation and will continue monitoring till the end in view of the situation created by COVID-19.
The ECI said that commission had recommended extension of optional postal ballot facilities to voters above 65 years in order to minimize their vulnerability and exposure at the polling stations and to COVID positive voters and voters under quarantine so that they are not deprived of their voting rights.
It said that Law and Justice Ministry notified the amended rules accordingly on June 19, 2020, on the recommendation of the commission.
The poll panel said that before implementing this enabling provision, due notification is issued by the commission at the time of the election.
"Before implementing these enabling provisions, commission continually assesses the field situation and logistics of operationalization," it said.
The panel said that keeping in mind the elderly and vulnerable sections, the Commission has already limited the number of electors to 1,000 for each polling station in the unprecedented situation.
"In view of this, the State is creating additional 34,000 (approximately) polling stations (45% more), which will increase the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000. This would entail formidable logistical challenges of mobilizing 1.8 lakh more polling personnel and other additional resources including the requirement of much larger number of vehicles in Bihar. Similar challenges would be there for the coming by- elections also," the commission said. (ANI)