Voting Made Easier for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities

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Voting Made Easier for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities

Voting Made Easier for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced a new initiative for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election 2024, making the process more inclusive and accessible for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PwD). This initiative allows individuals who are unable to visit polling stations due to age or other reasons to vote from the comfort of their own homes.

This move is expected to benefit a significant number of voters. As per estimates, over 85 lakh senior citizens and 88.4 lakh persons with disabilities will now be able to cast their votes conveniently. This includes 81,87,999 senior citizen electors above 85 years and 2,18,442 electors above 100 years.

Previously, the postal ballot facility was available to senior citizens above 80 years. However, the Union Law Ministry has amended the Conduct of Elections Rules-1961, extending this facility to those above 85 years.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar emphasizes the importance of participation for senior citizens. He states, "Generally, the tendency has been that the senior citizens want to participate in the process and walk to the booth. But this time, we have given them options to vote in their homes."

To avail this facility, individuals need to fill out Form 12D and inform the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) about their inability to visit the polling station. The form can be downloaded from the ECI website or collected from the district officer's office.

Once approved, polling officials, along with a videographer and security personnel, will visit the eligible person's home to oversee the postal ballot voting process. The voter will receive prior notification about the date and time of the visit.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases, from April 19 to June 1. A total of 17.24 crore voters are eligible to cast their vote at around 1.85 lakh polling stations. The vote counting will take place on June 4.