“As per the Election Commission (EC) guidelines, in case the polling personnel are put on election duty in the same constituency in which they are enrolled as voters, they are entitled to get an EDC to vote at the same polling station they are on duty. In case they are on duty in a constituency other than their own, they are entitled to postal ballot,” said additional chief electoral officer R Lakshmanan.
These polling personnel include state government employees, sector officers, zonal officers, returning officers and assistant returning officers, district election officers, deputy district election officers, employees posted in the office of district election officer, returning officer, control room and other election-related offices, micro observers, all police personnel, homeguards, drivers, conductors and cleaners of vehicles. Polling agents of candidates also fall in the category of voters on election duty for this purpose.
The EC, this time has decided to facilitate casting of postal ballots for persons on election duty during the training sessions. There will be voting compartments at the training centres, like the one at polling stations, to maintain the secrecy of ballot.
“Postal ballot forms should be filled up with accuracy and the self-declarations made in the forms should be duly attested by gazetted officers who must check that the details are properly filled up,” said Lakshmanan.
After postal ballot papers are issued to voters on election, the returning officer has to send the relevant parts of electoral roll to the presiding officers concerned for marking the names of electors who cast their vote on EVM at a polling station where they would be deployed on the polling day.
The entire process of postal ballot is to be videographed. Once a postal ballot paper is issued to a voter on election duty, he/she can vote only through postal ballot even if the official is exempted or not deployed on election duty.
During the ensuing general elections, polling staff, including police personnel, will be mostly drawn from within the parliamentary constituency. Therefore, majority of voters on election duty will use the EDC.