Voters who test positive for COVID-19 and those in quarantine till 3 p.m. on the day prior to the local body elections will be able to exercise their franchise in the polls using ‘special postal ballot papers’, according to the State Election Commission (SEC).
State Election Commissioner V. Bhaskaran on Thursday issued detailed guidelines in this regard. Electors who test positive or go into quarantine after 3 p.m. on the eve of the election till the conclusion of voting can cast their votes directly at the polling booths “’after all other ordinary voters waiting in queue and those issued tokens have finished voting”, the SEC said.
List of special voters
A ‘certified list of special voters’ will be prepared by designated health officers. They will prepare a list of special voters in each district (who is either an active COVID-19 patient or is in mandatory quarantine within ten days before election day till 3 p.m. on the eve of the election).
The second category of certified list will consist of voters who test positive or go into quarantine after 3 p.m. on the date prior to the election.
They will not be issued special postal ballots, but will be permitted to cast their votes directly at the polling stations.
The special ballot papers will be distributed to special voters by the special polling officer and polling assistant. The voter has to affix his/her signature on a declaration before the officer. Once the ballot is handed over, the vote should be cast in secret. The vote can either be handed over to the special polling officer or despatched to the returning officer via another person or by mail. The commission has also listed out detailed procedures for allowing the second category of special voters who need to visit the polling booths.
Those in govt. hospitals
Special voters under treatment in government hospitals will be assisted by the Health Department to reach the designated polling station. Special voters staying at any place other than government hospitals should travel to the polling stations by themselves.
“They should not stop in between the travel from home to the polling station. The driver should also wear PPE kit while taking the patient. There should not be any bystander accompanying the patient in the same vehicle,” the guidelines say.
These voters will not be allowed to touch EVMs without hand gloves. Separate pens should be used by each voter to sign in the voter register.