EC Empowers Essential Workers with Postal Ballot Voting in Upcoming Elections

The notification dated March 19, 2024, delineates the category of electors eligible for voting through postal ballot as absentee voters due to their employment in essential services.
EC Empowers Essential Workers with Postal Ballot Voting in Upcoming Elections
EC Empowers Essential Workers with Postal Ballot Voting in Upcoming Elections

In a move to ensure the democratic participation of essential service workers in the upcoming General Elections to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, 2024, along with bye-elections in 26 Assembly Constituencies across 13 States, the Election Commission has issued a notification under Section 60(c) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The notification dated March 19, 2024, delineates the category of electors eligible for voting through postal ballot as absentee voters due to their employment in essential services. This crucial provision aims to ensure that individuals serving in essential sectors can exercise their electoral rights, even if they are on duty on the day of polling.

Departments falling under the notified category of electors are instructed to appoint a "Nodal Officer" to oversee the facilitation of postal ballot voting for eligible personnel. These Nodal Officers will be briefed on their responsibilities and duties, and they will inform the concerned electors about the facility available to them. Copies of Form 12D from the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, will be provided to these Nodal Officers to aid in their duties.

The Election Commission's decision follows consultations with government administrations across all States and Union Territories and is aligned with the provisions of Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Essential service workers identified in Annexure-I of the notification are now classified as a class of persons eligible to cast their votes via postal ballot while on duty on the polling day during the scheduled General and Bye-Elections.

The election schedule for the aforementioned polls is set to be notified on various dates between March 20, 2024, and May 7, 2024, in accordance with the existing Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, and the directives issued by the Election Commission.

This proactive measure by the Election Commission aims to uphold the democratic rights of essential service workers and ensure their active participation in the electoral process, thereby strengthening the democratic fabric of the nation.

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