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Bihar polls: Senior citizens group writes to EC, lauds rule to allow use of postal ballots | India News

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NEW DELHI: Senior citizens associations have written to the Commission appreciating its new rule allowing those above 65 years to vote by postal ballot in Bihar elections, and requested this practice to be replicated in all future polls across the country.
The law ministry had recently, as recommended by EC, extended postal ballot facility to all electors above 65 years of age and all Covid-positive electors under home isolation or institutional quarantine so that crowding at the polling stations in Bihar could be reduced. This was done as the statutory framework prescribed under Section 60(c) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, empowers EC to notify, in consultation with the government, any person belonging to a class of persons to be allowed the facility of voting by postal ballot.
As the lockdown guidelines released on May 17 by the home ministry had required senior citizens as well as, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes, EC had recommended to the law ministry to okay postal ballot facility for senior citizens and Covid patients under home/institutional quarantine. This was in addition to three categories allowed this facility on October 22, 2019, namely, senior citizens about 80 years of age, electors with disabilities and those employed in essential services.
In his letter to EC written on behalf of senior citizens associations, Dr Rao V B J Chelikani, who is president of International Foundation of Human Development, said that they want to propose that this practice be generalised in all elections to come anywhere in the country. Stating that this facility will increase voting percentage, he said it could be justified on the grounds that this practice is already being followed for the armed forces and government servants without compromising secrecy of ballot. “This will reduce the intensity of the D-Day i.e. voting by all in one-day at one go, which is pushing all the political groups. whether in power or not. to practice all kinds of expensive irregularities the night before…We can reasonably hope that some seniors who will vote by ballot at their convenient time and pace, would do so after reflection in serenity. Such a facility would give us lessons to learn for an eventual generalisation of digital campaigns and voting,” he stated.
Chelikani also offered to do a survey among the senior citizens of the country to justify their plea

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