COVID-19 patients and those placed under quarantine will not lose their chance to cast vote in the crucial local body polls in Kerala, as the state Election Commission has introduced postal ballot facility for them. A team, consisting of a special polling officer (SPO), a special polling assistant (SPA) and a police officer, would visit each such voter and distribute among them application and declaration forms and postal ballots, State Election Commission (SEC) has said.
Eligible voters infected by COVID-19 and those under quarantine would be considered as 'special voters' and the distribution of special postal ballots for them would begin on December 2, state Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran said. As of November 29, a total of 24,621 people found place in the initial list of special voters.
It was the initial certified list prepared for the five districts- Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki, which go to polls on December 8 of the three-tier polls. An electorate of over 2.76 crore would exercise their franchise to elect representatives to 941 gram panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 86 municipalities and six municipal corporations in the three phased local body polls, scheduled on December 8, 10 and 14.
"In each district, the list of special voters will be prepared 10 days prior to the polling day and will be revised every day till 3 pm of the day before voting," he said. The special postal vote was not allowed for those who test positive for the viral infection or go into quarantine after 3.00 pm the day before voting.
They can visit the polling booths directly, wearing PPE kits and adhering to other safety measures, the SEC said. Both the voter and the candidates would be informed beforehand about the proposed visit of the polling team to distribute the ballot and declaration form, the official added.
The votes would be counted on December 16.