Many aged people visit booths; DRO says postal vote an option, not must

Around 25 persons staying in a home run by Helping Hearts came to Marappettai Vazhi government middle school in Pollachi by walk allegedly because they were not given the postal vote option.
An elderly person visits a polling booth to cast her vote
An elderly person visits a polling booth to cast her vote(Photo | Express)

COIMBATORE: Despite the Election Commission making provision for people above the age of 85 years and differently abled persons to vote from home (postal ballots), several such people were seen coming to the polling booths to cast their vote.

Many of them said they were not aware of such an option, Especially, elderly persons who are staying in destitute homes were forced to visit polling booths to cast their votes.

Around 25 persons staying in a home run by Helping Hearts came to Marappettai Vazhi government middle school in Pollachi by walk allegedly because they were not given the postal vote option. Out of 25 persons, five were differently abled and two women were above 85-years-old.

A Saraswathi (94) who has been an inmate in the home for the last two years also came on foot to the polling booth. Ilangovan (55), a differently abled inmate, arrived in his wheelchair. He said no election staff visited the home to collect votes.

Vignesh, a staff working in the home, said, “We appealed to officials to give ‘vote from home’ option. But it did not happen.” Some workers from a political party helped them reach the booth.

Collector and election officer Kranthi Kumar Pati said, “Vote- from-home provision is for elderly people who are above 85 years old but not for others. In the particular home, where the inmates were rescued from roadsides, they did not have voter IDs. They were added to the electoral rolls and given voter IDs at the eleventh hour by a special effort. By then, the application process for ‘vote from home’ had ended.”

R. Abirami, DRO (NH) and Election Nodal Officer for Postal votes, said “Taking the voters’ list, election duty staff visited the  houses of those above 85 years. They were provided Form 12 for postal voting. It is an option not mandatory. If they want to cast their vote in the polling booths, they can come and vote.”

As many as 2,434 elderly persons and 411 differently abled persons cast their vote from home till April 18 in Coimbatore district.

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