Civil Society calls for Extension of Bihar Postal Rule for all Elections

The move would improve participative democracy and help senior citizens

Team TT

Lauding the move by the Election Commission enabling voters aged 65 years and above and those infected or suspected to be infected of Covid-19, to vote through a postal ballot in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Bihar, senior citizens’ bodies have called for the extension of the option for elections across the country.

By enabling senior citizens to use the postal ballot would increase the overall voter percentages apart from making participative democracy easier, Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani, President, International Foundation for Human Development (IFHD), and representing several senior citizens bodies said in a representation to the Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora.

The terms of the EC’s constitutional mandate empower the Commission to permit such a facility. Highlighting that postal ballot was already in practice in the case of armed personnel and government servants on duty, other benefits of a postal ballot would be that senior citizens will spare themselves from being manipulated or bullied.

This apart it would reduce the intensity of last minute electioneering and malpractices on the election day and also provide the seniors an opportunity to vote after reasonable reflection at their convenience and pace.

The postal ballot facility to all could provide valuable lessons and experience for an eventual generalization of digital campaigns and voting, Dr Chelikani said in the representation.

Furthermore, the Federation has offered its good offices to conduct a survey among the senior population in the country for a quantified reaction from stakeholders to justify the plea if necessary.

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