The Election Commission of India (ECI) recommended extension of optional postal ballot facilities to voters above 65 years in order to minimize their vulnerability and exposure at the Polling stations and to Covid positive voters and voters under quarantine so that they are not deprived of their voting rights.

Commission has been constantly monitoring the electoral preparedness for the coming by-elections and General elections of Assembly in Bihar, in view of this unprecedented environment. Commission has already limited the number of electors to one thousand for each polling station for ease of voting, especially for elderly and vulnerable sections of electors, in COVID-19 situations.

In view of this, the State is creating additional 34,000 (approximately) polling stations (45% more), which will increase the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000. This would entail formidable logistical challenges of mobilizing 1.8 lakh more polling personnel and other additional resources including requirement of much larger number of vehicles in the State of Bihar. Similar challenges would be there for the coming by-elections also, Election Commission said in a statement.

According to the Election Commission, considering all these issues, challenges and constraints and in view of the decision to limit the number of electors at each polling station to 1000, Commission has decided not to issue the notification to extend the facility of postal ballot to the electors above 65 years of age in the coming General Elections in Bihar and by- elections due in the near future.

However, facility of optional postal ballot to electors who are above 80 years of age, PwD Voters, the electors engaged in essential services and voters who are COVID-19 positive/suspect in quarantine (home/institutional) will be extended in these elections.