Vote-From-Home Facility in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Vote-From-Home Facility in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024

22-05-2024

Background:

  1. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has laid out a 7 -phase poll schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
  2. To promote inclusivity and accessibility, the ECI has introduced the 'Vote from Home' (VfH) facility for the first time in Lok Sabha elections.
  3. Only Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens aged 85 and above can use this facility.
  4. This decision will allow over 85 lakh senior citizens and 88.4 lakh PwD to vote via postal ballots.

Previous Trials of VfH Facility:

  1. The VfH facility was previously tested in select regions during Assembly elections, enabling PwD, senior citizens, and COVID-19 affected people to vote from home.
  2. In the past 11 Assembly elections, the scheme has facilitated voting for around 3.30 lakh PwD and voters above 80 years.
  3. In the recent Karnataka Assembly Elections, nearly 1 lakh PwD and older voters utilized the home voting postal ballot method out of a total of 18 lakh voters.

Eligibility for ‘Vote-from-Home’ Facility:

How to Avail the VfH Facility:

  1. The key to this process is Form 12D, a letter informing the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) that the voter may not be able to visit the polling station to cast their vote.
  2. Form 12D can be downloaded online from the ECI website or obtained from the office of the representative district officer of the parliamentary constituency.
  3. Distribution of Form 12D has already begun in Tamil Nadu districts, which will head to the national polls on April 19.
  4. The form must be filled and submitted within 5 days of the polling date notification.

Multi Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine:

  1. The Central government is also exploring remote voting for domestic migrants, as per a press release in December 2022.
  2. The Multi Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM) would allow domestic migrants who relocate for employment and opportunities (approximately 450 million, according to the 2011 census) to vote for their home constituencies remotely.
  3. Internal migrants face challenges due to the transient nature of their lives and livelihoods.
  4. Many are hesitant to enroll multiple times, reluctant to have their names removed from the electoral rolls of their home constituencies, and face an emotional disconnect with their new locations.
  5. The government believes that implementing this system can lead to a social transformation for migrants and help them stay connected to their roots.

Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) at Polling Stations:

  1. If a senior citizen or a person with a disability chooses to vote at the polling booth, the ECI has mandated officials to provide Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) such as ramps, wheelchairs, first aid, and toilets.
  2. Both new and existing measures are being highlighted, including free transportation on poll day, appointment of State and District PwD icons, and Braille-enabled EVMs and EPICs

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