Who is eligible to cast their vote through postal ballots?

Who is eligible to cast their vote through postal ballots?

Who is eligible to cast their vote through postal ballots?

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) recently announced a significant step towards inclusive elections by allowing media persons covering polling day activities to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2024 and state Assembly polls through postal ballots.

This move aims to facilitate the participation of eligible voters who are unable to cast their votes in person due to various reasons.
Postal ballots, also known as mail-in ballots, offer a convenient alternative for registered voters who cannot physically visit a polling station on election day.

This system promotes inclusivity by accommodating individuals facing challenges such as being away from their home constituency, having disabilities, or performing essential services during the election period.

Eligible electors for postal voting include service voters such as members of the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and government employees deployed away from their home constituencies on election duty.

Absentee voters, individuals unable to vote in person due to work commitments, illness, or disability, also qualify for postal ballots. Moreover, electors on election duty and those under preventive detention during the election period can exercise their franchise through postal voting.

Additionally, media persons with authorization letters from the EC and individuals engaged in essential services like metros, railways, and healthcare can opt for postal ballots in Lok Sabha and select state Assembly polls.

The process to apply for a postal ballot involves submitting Form 12 D to the returning officer (RO) of the respective constituency, providing personal details, voter identification information, and reasons for seeking a postal ballot. The RO verifies eligibility and issues the postal ballot accordingly.

For service voters, the postal ballot paper is dispatched through the record office or the Ministry of External Affairs for those serving outside India.
Senior citizens receive assistance from a team of polling officials who visit their residence to facilitate the voting process.

The process of postal voting entails receiving the ballot, marking the preferred candidate(s) in the secrecy sleeve, completing the declaration form, sealing the envelope, and returning the ballot by mail within the specified time frame.