Postal ballot for Covid-19 patients in Kerala local body polls

Covid-19 patients and those placed under quarantine will be given the option to cast their vote through postal ballots in the local body polls in Kerala. Elections to local bodies of five districts in Kerala are to be held in three phases starting December 8.

Kerala State Election Commission has announced that it will provide a postal ballot facility for Covid-19 patients and other eligible voters placed under quarantine during the upcoming local body elections. Generally, the facility is provided only for government staff stationed on election duty. Voters afflicted with the novel coronavirus or in quarantine will be designated the status of ‘Special Voters’ in the upcoming municipal elections in Kerala. A team, consisting of a special polling officer (SPO), a special polling assistant (SPA) and a police officer, would visit each such voter and distribute among them application and declaration forms and postal ballots, State Election Commission (SEC) said. The voter can sign the application and self-declaration which will be attested by the special polling officer on the spot. The special voter will then cast a vote with a tick mark, at a place of his convenience and ensuring privacy.

The ballot may be handed over to the special polling officer in a cover. If the voter wishes, the ballot can also be sent by registered post to the returning officer concerned. List of special voters will be prepared with the assistance of health department and returning officer, starting from 10 days prior to the polling. This will be updated each day at 3 pm. Voters who test positive or are placed in quarantine after 3 pm can also cast their vote at the polling booth. For this purpose, voters must reach the polling booth before 6 pm wearing PPE kits. Both the voter and the candidates would be informed beforehand about the proposed visit of the polling team to distribute the ballot and declaration form, the official added. Once all the general voters have cast their votes, the special voters will be allowed to enter the polling booth. At this time, election officials and polling agents will also be made to wear PPE kits. The second phase will take place on December 10 followed by the third phase on December 14.