Ahmedabad: Election Commission has geared up to conduct postal ballot at various facilitation centres in Gujarat where about three lakh polling staff including policemen are expected to cast their votes, officials said.
Around 9,000 policemen engaged in poll duty have already cast their votes through postal ballots at the facilitation centres set up across the state, they said.
"An estimated three lakh people engaged in poll duty including policemen are expected to cast their votes at the facilitation centres set up in the state for postal ballot, making it the biggest such exercise ever," Gujarat Chief Election Officer Anita Karwal told a news agency.
"Previously, employees deputed for polling duty used to get ignored. We took pro-active measures and got all of them them registered. Some of those engaged in phase-I polling have already cast their votes through postal ballot," she said.
Earlier, employees on poll duty had the option to cast their votes only through post, but not many would exercise their franchise and one was also not sure whether ballot sent through post would reach on time or not, an official said.
This time voting through postal ballot is likely to increase manifold compared to 2007 assembly polls given the special arrangements being made like opening of the facilitation centres. Only about 30,000 votes were cast through postal ballot in 2007 assembly poll.
The exercise through postal ballot began at a facilitation centre last week in Jamnagar.
The Election Commission has directed that all police personnel in the state who are covered under the notification issued by the state government in terms of Section 28A of the RP Act 1951, would be treated as personnel on election duty and would be entitled to vote through postal ballot.
Assembly elections will be held in Gujarat in two phases on December 13 and 17 while counting will take place on December 20.