80,994 Form 12-D distributed; 2,404 elders express wish to vote from home
403 out of 31,304 Persons with Disabilities (PwD) too avail similar facility
Mysore/Mysuru: This election in Karnataka, the Election Commission is all set to adopt a measure to enable people above 80 years and individuals with disabilities to Vote-from-Home. This initiative aims to empower around 12.15 lakh elderly voters and 5.55 lakh persons with disabilities who may face difficulties in reaching polling stations.
In the first-of-its-kind move, soon after the poll dates were announced, officials started visiting the homes of these voters who cannot come to the polling stations due to various reasons and assisting them in exercising their right to vote. Their age was identified in the data available with the District Administration.
Officers from the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), City Municipal Councils, Panchayats and other Government Departments have been visiting the homes of those having a voter ID card and are above 80 years of age or have any disabilities with a form called 12-D. Consent is being taken from them regarding whether they wish to vote from home or will go to the polling booth to cast their votes. Those who are unable to visit the polling booth can cast their votes using the postal ballot system brought to their homes by Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and a Returning Officer (RO) will deploy polling teams, who will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and deposit it with the RO.
So far (till Apr. 19, 2023), 31,304 Form 12-D has been issued in Mysuru for persons with disability and 403 filled-in forms have been received. 80,994 persons above 80 years of age have been given Form 12-D by visiting individual houses in Mysuru and 2,404 forms have been collected.
Persons with Disabilities (PwD)
Constituency-wise, 3,240 form 12-D have been issued for persons with disabilities and 75 have been collected in Periyapatna, 3,106 form 12-D have been issued and 77 have been collected in K.R. Nagar, 3,491 forms distributed and 31 collected in Hunsur, 3,274 forms were distributed and 12 were collected in H.D. Kote, 3,094 forms were distributed and 62 were collected in Nanjangud, 2,567 forms were distributed and 40 were collected in Chamundeshwari.
In Krishnaraja Constituency, 1,428 forms were distributed and 6 were collected, 2,326 forms were distributed and 3 were collected in Chamaraja, 2,646 forms were distributed and 9 were collected in Narasimharaja, 3,073 forms were distributed and 43 were collected in Varuna, 3,059 forms were distributed and 45 were collected in T. Narasipur.
Above 80 years of age
Constituency-wise, 5,254 form 12-D have been issued for persons above 80 years of age and 286 have been collected in Periyapatna, 6,714 form 12-D have been issued and 499 have been collected in K.R. Nagar, 6,908 forms were distributed and 124 were collected in Hunsur, 4,650 forms were distributed and 22 were collected in H.D. Kote, 7,563 forms were distributed and 336 were collected in Nanjangud, 8,548 forms were distributed and 206 were collected in Chamundeshwari.
In Krishnaraja Constituency, 12,174 forms were distributed and 308 were collected, 9,718 forms were distributed and 133 were collected in Chamaraja, 6,966 forms were distributed and 124 were collected in Narasimharaja, 6,607 forms were distributed and 192 were collected in Varuna, 5,892 forms distributed and 174 collected in T. Narasipur.
A voter-friendly initiative
As part of the vote-from-home drive, officials visit door-to-door to enquire about the residents who can avail of this facility. Residents are first asked if they are able to come to the polling station to vote. If the residents express their inability to do so, then they are informed about the procedure to vote at home through a postal ballot. The measure comes as a huge relief to 80-plus-aged residents who have to head out to the polling stations in the hot summer. Till now, such senior citizens and people with disabilities would be escorted inside the polling booth by people stationed at the centres so they do not have to wait in line. By enabling vote-from-home, this process has been made voter-friendly.
Essential services and polling personnel
This apart, Absentee Voters in Essential Services (AVES) can also use postal ballots to cast their vote by submitting Form 12-D to the Returning Officer. This category of essential services officials includes doctors, para-medical staff, ambulance service of the Health Department, drivers and conductors of KSRTC, fire services, the staff of Milk Federation and Milk Co-op. Societies and accredited journalists. These AVES will receive certificates from Departmental Nodal Offices in accordance with Election Commission of India guidelines. In Mysuru, 694 12-D forms have been issued to AVES and all 694 forms have been received. Polling persons deputed at various booths too can avail of this facility and 989 form 12-D has been issued and 989 have been received.