New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday (July 16) decided to withdraw the facility of postal ballot to electors above 65 years of age in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections and other by-elections due in near future in view of safety protocols of COVID-19, according to an official statement.
"Commission has decided not to issue the notification to extend the facility of postal ballot to the electors above 65 years of age in the coming General Elections in Bihar and by-elections due in the near future. However, the facility of optional postal ballot to electors who are above 80 years of age, PwD voters, the electors engaged in essential services and voters who are COVID- 19 positive/suspect in quarantine (home/institutional) will be extended in these elections," said the statement.
The Bihar State Election Commission earlier this month had stated that coronavirus patients and those above the age of 65 will be allowed to vote from home or use postal ballot in the upcoming Assembly elections scheduled this year.
The Commission has already "limited the number of electors to one thousand for each polling station for ease of voting, especially for elderly and vulnerable sections of electors, in COVID-19 situations."
Notably, the state is creating additional 34,000 (approximately) polling stations (45% more), which will increase the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000.
"This would entail formidable logistical challenges of mobilizing 1.8 lakh more polling personnel and other additional resources including requirement of much larger number of vehicles in Bihar," the EC added.