After notching sizeable voters’ turnout at polling booths, constituencies are now counting the number of postal ballots pouring into the election offices.
The postal ballots, which were issued days before the actual polling day for staff on election duty, have received a good response in both Anand and Vadodara parliamentary constituencies. The two constituencies have already received about 75% postal ballots. The Postal Department has been instructed to bring in all remaining ballots until 8 am on counting day on May 16.
According to election officers in the two constituencies, the state election commission has directed that all postal ballots received until 8 am on May 16 be considered for counting. So far, the number of postal ballots arrived in both constituencies has given hope that it will cross the 80% mark. In Vadodara, out of the 8,186 postal ballot papers issued to officials engaged in election duty, the district election office received 5,983 till Wednesday, while Anand recorded a figure of 3,934 till Saturday, out of 5,177 ballots issued earlier.
The election officials say the number is high and must be seen as a first since postal ballots were never given much attention before. Vadodara District Election Officer Vinod Rao said, “We have already received about 75% postal ballots and we have time till May 16 morning. We hope to cross the 80% mark by then. The response is certainly good.”
Postal ballots are cast by various categories of voters such as the Armed forces that are counted in as “service voters” and the officials holding special offices such as governors and ministers of states and unions are classified as “special voters”. Postal ballots are also cast by spouses of service voters and special voters as well as voters in preventive detention and various government officials on election duty.
According to deputy DEO of Vadodara, Rajendra Sarvaiyya, the Vadodara constituency has 746 registered 8,186 service voters. “We have issued the postal ballots to all staff on election duty outside their Parliamentary constituency. The officers must fill up the stipulated form Form 12 to be eligible for receiving the postal ballot. Whoever applied in the right format, including service voters, was issued the same during the permitted days before April 30,” he said.