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Vote from Home Facility in LS Elections

  • Context (TH): For the first time in the history of the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) extended its ‘vote-from-home’ facility to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens aged 85 and above.
  • The VfH facility was previously tried out during Assembly elections in select regions, allowing PwD, senior citizens and people affected by COVID-19 to vote from home.
  • The ECI has, however, increased the upper age limit for elderly voters from 80 to 85 years.

Who is eligible to avail the vote-from-home facility?

  • People aged 85 and above.
  • Persons with Disabilities: The disability shall not be less than 40% of the prescribed handicap and certified by the certifying authority.
  • Media persons covering ‘polling day activities’.
  • Workers from essential services: Services such as metros, railways and health care.
  • Service voters: Armed forces personnel posted away from their hometowns, Central Armed Police Forces personnel deployed away from home, and those on poll duty.

How to avail the vote-from-home facility?

 vote-from-home facility in the Lok Sabha elections - PMF IAS

  • During the visit, the polling team is expected to follow protocol under the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.
  • Each team of poll officers is required to:
    • Issue postal ballot to each of the Absentee Voters assigned to it,
    • Brief the elector about the procedure to be followed for voting through postal ballot,
    • Make sure that the elector votes without anyone influencing his/her choice, and ensuring the secrecy of voting, all activities at the address of the elector concerned, according to a November 2022 communique for the Vote-from-home facility.

Other Steps taken by ECI for Inclusive Elections

  • The government is also experimenting with remote voting for domestic migrants.
  • The Multi Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM) would allow people who migrate within the country for employment and opportunity (almost 450 million, as per the latest 2011 census) to vote for their home constituencies from remote locations.
  • If a senior citizen or a person with disability chooses to go to the booth, the ECI has mandated officials to provide Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like ramps, wheelchairs, first aid and toilets at polling stations.
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