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Election Commission introduces home voting for elderly and persons with disabilities

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced home voting for the first time in a Lok Sabha Election. This initiative aims to make voting easier for elderly citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Now, voters above 85 years of age and PwDs with 40% benchmark disability can choose to vote from home.

This step marks a significant advancement in making the electoral process more inclusive and accessible. Over 81 lakh voters are aged 85 or above, and there are more than 90 lakh registered PwD voters across the country.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, announced this initiative. They stated that by offering home voting, the Commission shows care and respect towards elderly and PwD voters, setting an example for society.

In the first two phases of polling, voters in this category have already started casting their votes from home. This process involves a full team of polling staff and security personnel, ensuring the secrecy of voting is maintained.

Several heartening instances have been reported, highlighting the impact of this initiative. In Churu, Rajasthan, eight PwD voters from the same family exercised their right to vote from home. Similarly, elderly voters in remote areas like Bastar and Sukma in Chhattisgarh, as well as Sironcha town in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra, benefitted from this facility.

The provision of home voting aims to empower voters who face difficulties in reaching polling stations. It is specifically targeted at PwDs meeting the 40% benchmark disability criteria and senior citizens aged above 85 years.

The process to avail this facility is simple. Eligible voters must complete Form 12D within five days of the election notification and submit it to the returning officer. PwD voters need to include a baseline disability certificate with their applications.

A dedicated team, including polling officials and security personnel, visits the voter’s residence to collect their votes. Voters are informed in advance about the visit, ensuring a smooth voting experience. The entire process is recorded for transparency.

This initiative showcases the ECI’s commitment to using technology to improve the electoral process. With digital notifications and videography, voting becomes more transparent and accessible.

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Last Updated: 19th May 2024