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Bihar Assembly elections 2020: More than 52,000 voters opt for postal ballots for phase-1

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Patna: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday (October 12, 2020) announced that more than 52,000 electors belonging to senior citizen (above 80 years of age) and PwD categories have opted to exercise the facility to vote through postal ballots in the forthcoming phase-1 of Bihar Assembly elections 2020

These electors will be provided postal ballots on pre-informed dates by the Returning Officers with proper security and videography arrangements to ensure secrecy, safety and transparency in the process. 

This is reportedly the first time that postal ballot facility is being extended to both the categories in Bihar elections. 

The Booth Level Officers (BLO) of 71 assembly constituencies in Bihar have reached out to more than four lakh such electors, while the remaining electors intend to visit the booth on the poll day for voting.

Notably, the Bihar Assembly elections dates were announced on September 25, 2020, where it was said that the first phase elections, polling in 71 ACs spread over 16 districts of Bihar, will be held on October 28, 2020.

Earlier, during Commission’s visit to Bihar from September 29 – October 1, attention was drawn to certain concerns regarding the implementation of this provision for the above categories of voters. 

To comprehensively address these concerns, on October 3, Commission had directed that the BLO will visit the houses of the concerned electors, as provided by the RO, in the polling station area and deliver Form- 12-D to the concerned electors. If an elector is not available, he/she will share the contact details and revisit to collect it within five days of the notification.

The elector may or may not opt for the postal ballot in the acknowledgement attached with the Form 12-D. If he/she opts for the postal ballot, then the BLO will collect the filled-in Form 12-D from the house of the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the RO forthwith.

The BLO shall deposit all the acknowledgement forms with the RO along with all Form 12-D. Sector Officer shall supervise it under the overall supervision of RO.

In subsequent two phases of elections in Bihar and in bye-elections in all other States, this exercise will continue so that electoral process becomes more accessible, inclusive and safe for these categories during the period of COVID-19. 

The BLOs will visit approximately 12 lakh such electors’ homes in Bihar in the next two phases for this purpose.

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