Cops,poll staff use postal ballot to vote in advance

More than 40,000 govt employees on poll duty have cast votes through postal ballot.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 1, 2013 2:35:55 am

More than 40,000 of the 70,000 government employees assigned poll duty have already cast their votes through postal ballot.

While the facility was earlier used only by staff in missions abroad and defence personnel in a limited way,the Election Commission of India decided to make use of the postal ballot in a big way for the 2013 Assembly elections.

The previous election in Delhi saw deployment of 55,000 personnel of the Delhi Police and 22 companies of central paramilitary forces. Officials said that in 2008,only around 1,000 votes were cast through postal ballot.

“We are actively pursing the matter of ensuring that all officials on polling duty cast their votes through postal ballot this time. We have identified over 70,000 people who are going to be on poll duty and eligible to vote through the postal ballot. At least 40,000 have already cast their vote,and the process will be on till December 1,” special chief electoral officer Shurbir Singh said.

There are 11,763 polling stations in Delhi,which will have five polling staff members each,besides 20 per cent polling personnel in reserve and 1,200 sector officers to ensure smooth coordination. Nearly 30,000 police officers will be on duty.

For the process of postal ballot “aimed at maximising voters’ turnout”,the Delhi Election Commission segregated the polling staff into three groups — police officers,government staff and drivers of private officials.

“We identified 26 facilitation centres for police officers to cast their postal ballots between November 25 and December 1. The government staff had to submit their postal ballots on November 26 and 27,and the private drivers on election duty have also submitted their ballots between November 24 to 27,” a senior official said. All centres have sealed boxes.

For the first time,the Delhi Election Commission sought to bring Delhi Police personnel under the “democratic voting process”,having noted their “substantial role in maintaining law and order during the elections” but an otherwise “minuscule presence during the actual voting process”.

On an average,only 2 per cent of police personnel get a chance to vote,an official said. Election duty keeps them away from voting,busy as they are to ensure that the polls pass off peacefully. The Delhi EC had earlier launched an online portal to facilitate the process of enrolment and voting for polling duty staff.

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