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Postal ballots

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Election Commission of India has announced the provision of postal ballots for absentee voters from essential services in Tamil Nadu.

Workers from various sectors including Mercantile Marine, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Chennai Metro Rail Limited, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Food Corporation of India, Zonal Office (South), and the media industry are eligible.

 

Currently, the following voters are also allowed to cast their votes through postal ballot:

  1. Service voters (armed forces, the armed police force of a state and government servants posted abroad)
  2. Voters on election duty
  3. Voters above 80 years of age or Persons with Disabilities (PwD)
  4. Voters under preventive detention

 

Procedure for Postal Ballots:

According to EC instructions, the facilitation centre in charge of handling postal ballots is required to open the drop box daily in the presence of party and candidate representatives. Each constituency’s ballots are placed in a large envelope and then sent to the Returning Officer (RO) at the end of each voting day. The RO assumes custody of these bags, storing them securely in a designated “special strong room”

 

Procedure for Absentee Voters: 

For absentee voters, Booth Level Officers (BLOs) deliver ballot forms to homes and collect filled forms within five days. Essential services personnel can vote at special centres for three days before polling. Postal ballots are sent to the Returning Officer (RO) daily. To ensure secure handling, postal ballots are transferred to a strong room at the counting centre before counting.

About Postal ballots:

It refers to a method of voting where eligible voters receive their ballots by mail, rather than casting their votes in person at a polling station. This allows voters who are unable to physically attend a polling station, such as those living abroad, military personnel, or individuals with disabilities, to participate in elections.