Election FAQ: Arrangements for voters who have Covid-19

Election FAQ: Arrangements for voters who have Covid-19

Security personnel carrying Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on their way to a polling booth on the eve of first phase of Bihar Assembly Elections, in Gaya. Credit: PTI.

The Bihar Assembly Elections are the first major state election to occur in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in India. This makes it a unique challenge for the ECI, as it must balance the right to vote with the importance to maintain public safety.

In this regards, the poll body has issued guidelines for voters who are suspected of having, or have Covid-19.

Postal ballots:

Covid-19 patients and suspects are given the option of using postal ballots to cast their votes. This is done via form 12-D.

On acceptance of Postal Ballot application, the elector only votes through Postal Ballot and cannot vote at the Polling Station on poll day.

The BLO will visit the houses of the concerned electors and deliver Form 12-D to them. If elector opts for Postal Ballot, then the BLO will collect the filled-in Form 12-D from the house of the elector within 5 days of the notification and deposit it with the Returning Officer.

Electors under home/institutional quarantine can submit Form 12-D to their Returning Officer within 5 days of election notification. Form should be accompanied by quarantine certificate from competent authority (State Government appointed).

Physical voting:

If an elector who has Covid-19 or is suspected of having it opts for physical voting, they will be allowed to vote only during the last hour of polling.

During the last hour, voters will be allowed one by one, and they will be wearing PPE kits alongside the staff inside the booth. Each voters will also be provided gloves, which they will have to dispose of after putting in their vote on the EVM machine.

Social distancing of 6 feet will be mandatory and maintained at all times during the voting process.