Postal ballot for Covid patients & elderly in Maharashtra | Kolhapur News

KOLHAPUR: The state election commission (SEC) has decided to make postal ballot arrangements for Covid-19 patients, citizens aged above 80 years and disabled people for the Pandharpur-Mangalwedha assembly by-election that are scheduled for April 17.
“All the precautions as per the instructions issued by the Election Commision of India will be taken in view of the coronavirus situation,” chief returning officer Shrikant Deshpande said during his visit to the temple town on Friday.
Deshpande, who reviewed the poll preparations in the presence of top district-level officials, said Covid testing and vaccination of all those involved in the election process will be done. A total of 3,965 staff will be on election duty, he said.
“A medical team will also be deployed at polling stations,” added the official.
The timings for voting, which has been increased, will be from 7am to 7pm. However, the SEC is yet to take a decision on poll rallies. All social gatherings have already been banned in Solapur district.
Officials said that Covid patients, people aged above 80 and the disabled will have to register their names by filing the 12D form with the tehsildar’s office.
The SEC would confirm the information in the form and a team of three people — two election commission personnel and a policeman — will go the house of such a voter. The entire process will be video graphed. Local officials are expecting detailed instructions by the Election Commission of India in this regard.
The Pandharpur-Mangalwedha assembly constituency has around 12,000 voters above the age of 80 and 1,782 with physical disabilities.
The authorities are waiting for guidelines on how postal ballot would be done for voters who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in isolation.
Pandharpur is the worst affected taluka in Solapur district since the beginning of the pandemic. It has 8,442 registered cases, 245 deaths and 172 active cases till Friday night. All religious gatherings in Pandharpur were cancelled in the past one year.

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