Government allows people above 65 to vote via postal ballotsLast updated on Jul 02, 2020, 06:42 pm
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the government has now allowed people over the age of 65 to vote by postal ballots.
The government identifies people above the age of 65 as those who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The postal ballot facility has also been extended to suspected or confirmed patients of COVID-19.
Here are more details.
Who all can vote through postal ballots?
The Ministry of Law and Justice on Thursday issued a notification for the Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2020.
According to the notification, persons above the age of 65, COVID-19 patients, and those who are under home or institutional quarantine due to COVID-19, can cast their votes through the postal ballot facility.
The lower age limit on postal ballots was 80 earlier.
CPI(M) General-Secretary objected to reducing age limit for postal ballots
Recently, CPI (M) General-Secretary Sitaram Yechury had written to the Election Commission of India, objecting to the "unilateral measures" taken by the poll panel in changing procedures without consulting political parties.
He said the electoral system values the physical verifiability of the voters as the "bedrock of integrity" and reducing the age limit for postal ballots will leave many out of the verifiability matrix.
Bihar Assembly elections expected later this year
The decision comes ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections, expected to be held in October-November this year.
In June, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had said that India was "very far from the peak."
In May, AIIMS Director had said India's COVID-19 cases will peak in June-July.
Thus far, India has reported 6.04 lakh cases, including 17,834 deaths and 3.6 lakh recoveries.
Government advisories ask people above 65 to stay at home
The government has repeatedly, in several advisories, acknowledged persons above the age of 65, children under the age of 10, pregnant women, and persons with co-morbidities as more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Under the latest guidelines, for Unlock 2.0, people above the age of 65 have been advised to stay at home, except for health or essential purposes.