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Postal ballot facility introduced for Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens in Jharkhand assembly poll

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday announced the schedule for Assembly elections in Jharkhand which will be held in five phases, beginning November 30, and the results will be announced on December 23. The ECI also announced a slew of measures taken to ensure smooth conduct of the electoral process and to ensure that each and every citizen of the state is facilitated to exercise their franchise.

Postal ballot facility introduced for Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens in Jharkhand assembly poll

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday announced the schedule for Assembly elections in Jharkhand which will be held in five phases, beginning November 30, and the results will be announced on December 23. The ECI also announced a slew of measures taken to ensure smooth conduct of the electoral process and to ensure that each and every citizen of the state is facilitated to exercise their franchise.

Among other measures, the ECI has introduced a postal ballot facility, wherein electors who are persons with disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens above the age of 80 years can vote by availing the option of sending their vote through postal service. The option has been introduced following the recent amendment in the Conduct of Election Rules by the government on the recommendation of the ECI, which notifies that all the senior citizens above 80 years of age and PwD marked electors in the  electoral roll, will have the option of voting either by postal ballot or by voting at the their polling stations.

To avail this option, voters under the category will have to apply for the postal ballot within five days of notification for election in their assembly constituencies, if they wish to use the option of postal ballot for voting.

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The ECI has also directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Jharkhand to take necessary steps for the dissemination of information and facilitation to the categories of voters eligible for postal ballot. For senior citizens and PwD voters visiting the polling stations to cast their vote, the ECI has issued instructions to ensure that, if possible, all polling stations must be located at ground floor and sturdy ramps are provided for the convenience of differently-abled electors with wheelchairs. 

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Further, in order to provide targeted and need-based facilitation to differently-abled voters, the Commission has directed that all Persons with Disabilities in an assembly constituency are identified and tagged to their polling stations and disability-specific arrangements made for their smooth and convenient voting experience on the poll day. 

As many as 2,39,185 electors belonging to the PwD category have been identified in the state. The Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer that there should be proper transport facility for PwD electors in each and every polling station on the day of
poll. 

Election in Jharkhand is scheduled to begin from November 30, with the five-year term of the state Assembly expiring on January 5, 2020. The other days on which voting will take place are December 7, December 12, December 16, and December 20. The announcement was made by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora at a press briefing during which he said that the Model Code of Conduct will come into force in the state immediately.