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Covid patients can vote in Bihar polls | India News


In the first assembly polls and bypolls to be held since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Election Commission has asked for gloves to be provided to every voter for signing the voter register and pressing the EVM button.
Issuing broad guidelines for the Bihar elections due in October-November and other by-elections, the EC on Friday allowed public gatherings and rallies, subject to adherence to Covid-19 norms.
In a bid to facilitate maximum participation, voters who display high temperature on being scanned at the entry to a polling station, as well as quarantined Covid-19 patients, will be allowed to cast their votes in the last hour of polling, subject to preventive measures.
The broad guidelines to be followed during election rallies and gatherings will be decided by state and district administrations. These may include use of PPE kits and social distancing.
Covid-positive patients and suspected cases under home or institutional quarantine will also have the option of voting via postal ballot. As of now, postal ballots can be used by disabled voters, senior citizens and those engaged in essential services.
The ‘Unlock 3’ guidelines of the home ministry, applicable till August 31, bar large congregations and political functions. These will, however, be reviewed closer to August 31.
Public gatherings may be held in grounds to be identified by the district election officer, with clearly marked entry and exit points. As per sources, 44 such grounds have already been identified in Bihar. Circles will be marked in these grounds to ensure minimum six-feet distance between those attending. DEO and district police shall ensure that maximum attendees do not exceed the limit prescribed by the state disaster management authority for public gatherings.
As per the EC guidelines, only a group of five persons can carry out door-to-door campaign. Convoy of vehicles in roadshows must be broken after every five vehicles, with a 100-metre gap and 30-minute interval between two sets.
The EC norms prescribe mandatory sanitisation of polling stations, preferably a day before the poll. All voters will be subjected to thermal scanning at entry points to polling stations. If they show high temperature, their reading will be taken again and if still high, they shall be provided with a token/certificate to come back for voting in the last hour of polling. Similarly, quarantined Covid-19 patients can vote in the last hour of polling.

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