The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday allowed the mediapersons authorised by the election body to exercise their franchise using the postal ballot facility, according to a release by Office of Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab. Earlier, the Commission had allowed 80-years-old and above voters, Persons with Disability (more than 40 per cent) and COVID-19 positive patients to cast their vote via postal ballots.

This is in addition to the already existing absentee Voters categories, who on account of being on duty on the day of poll in the current election to Legislative Assembly of Punjab would not be able to present in their respective polling station.

Other essential service voters, who can also opt for postal ballot facility includes Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Food Corporation of India, All India Radio, Doordarshan, Post and Telegraph, Railways, BSNL, Power, Health, Fire Services and Civil Aviation in case they are on duty, reads the notification of the ECI.

Mediapersons during the press conference had raised a demand with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju to include them in Absentee Voters category so that they can cast their vote using the postal ballot facility.

Giving details, Dr Raju said that any absentee voter wishing to vote by postal ballot has to make an application to the Returning Officer in Form-12D giving all requisite particulars and get the application verified by the Nodal Officer appointed by the organisation concerned. Such applications seeking postal ballot facility should reach the RO during the period from date of announcement of election to five days following the date of notification of the election concerned, he added.

He clarified that any voter opting for postal ballot facility would not be able to cast normal vote at polling station.

Meanwhile, the Postal Voting Centre shall be open for up to three consecutive days in each of the constituencies before the date fixed for poll in the constituency. On each of three days, the PVC shall remain open from 9am to 5pm. Punjab Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in a single phase on February 14. The results will be announced on March 10.

(With ANI Inputs)


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