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ECI introduces home voting for elderly and PwD voters in historic move for 18th Lok Sabha elections
4/12/2024 10:30:05 PM
Agencies
NEW DELHI, Apr 12: In a landmark development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced home voting for elderly citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) for the first time in a Lok Sabha Election, marking a historic milestone in the electoral process. Citizens aged above 85 years and PwDs with a benchmark disability of 40% can now avail themselves of the optional home voting facility, with voting already underway for phases I and II of polling. This progressive initiative reflects the ECI's commitment to ensuring inclusivity and accessibility in the electoral process, thereby enhancing democratic participation. With over 81 lakh voters above the age of 85 and 90 lakh PwD voters registered across the country, this initiative aims to empower these segments of the population and facilitate their exercise of the right to vote.
Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, emphasized the Commission's dedication to providing care and respect to elderly and PwD voters through the home voting facility. Voters who have availed themselves of this option in phase 1 polls have expressed gratitude and satisfaction, highlighting the meticulous arrangements made by the ECI to ensure the secrecy and integrity of the voting process. The involvement of a full contingent of polling staff and security personnel ensures that voting from home is conducted with utmost diligence and adherence to electoral norms.
Several heartwarming anecdotes from across the country underscore the transformative impact of home voting on elderly and PwD voters. In Churu, Rajasthan, eight PwD voters from the same family exercised their franchise at home, demonstrating the strength of India's electoral democracy. Similarly, in Maharashtra, ECI polling teams traveled significant distances to provide home voting facilities to elderly voters in remote areas, such as Sironcha town in Gadchiroli district. These stories of participation and empowerment exemplify the significance of the ECI's initiative in fostering inclusivity and accessibility in the electoral process.
The provision of home voting is a progressive measure aimed at empowering voters facing barriers to traditional polling station participation. Eligible voters must submit Form 12D to the returning officer within five days of the election notification to avail themselves of this facility. The process involves the retrieval of completed forms by Booth Level Officers (BLOs), followed by dedicated visits by polling officials and security personnel to collect votes from the homes of eligible voters. The entire process is meticulously planned and executed, with transparency ensured through video documentation.
As India prepares for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the introduction of home voting by the ECI underscores its commitment to leveraging technology and innovation to enhance the electoral process. By embracing inclusivity and accessibility, the ECI is reaffirming its dedication to upholding the principles of democracy and ensuring that every eligible citizen can exercise their fundamental right to vote.
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