Following the practice prevalent in other parts of the country, the Delhi Chief Election Officer (CEO) will this time ask polling staff to set up polling stations a day before elections and stay there overnight.
The decision, a break from the pattern, was taken by Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh to make the poll process more efficient and error-free. Women staff, however, will have the option to come in the morning. Delhi votes on February 8.
“In the entire country, the system is that polling staff stays overnight, but in Delhi they would go early morning on the day of elections. What happens in such a case is that there is a possibility of people coming late, and there being last-minute panic,” Singh told The Indian Express.
“Also, it required for staff to wake up very early, around 3 am, and reach the location on time. Since they’re not of fresh mind, sometimes there can be errors due to this. That’s why we decided to follow this system this time,” he said.
Singh said he had received some concerns from the school teachers’ association about women staying overnight. A large number of teachers are involved in poll duty.
“Keeping in mind this aspect, we have told the DEOs and ROs that they should be given the option to come in the morning instead. This flexibility has been given to them but they have to make sure they reach on time,” he said.
Singh said EVM machines and other polling material would be provided to them from the DEO office. “They will reach by around 4-5 pm the preceding day. They will then get time to set up the polling station, which includes arranging furniture, setting up the voting compartment, making sure there’s no window behind the voting compartment, putting posters and deciding who will sit where,” he said.
“All this requires time. By doing all this together in advance and staying together, it will also lead to some camaraderie and they will work better as a team. They will also get a full night’s sleep,” Singh added.
He said those staying the night would be provided mattresses, pillows, quilts and hot water. For food, the staff will be provided cash.
Singh said there are five people per polling booth, which includes four polling party members and one police officer.
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