Election Commission Issues Guidelines For Bihar Assembly Polls Amid Corona Pandemic

As per the guideline issued by ECI, Candidates will not be able to take more than 5 people along with them for security from house to house for poll campaign.


Patna| The Election Commission on Friday released the guidelines for conducting elections amid Coronavirus pandemic. The Commission has given the facility of filling nomination to candidates online due to Corona threat. However, its print will be taken out and the candidate has to hand it over to the Election Officer. Apart from this, it is necessary to have a thermal scanner in any room, hall or campus being used for the election.

Thermal scanners will be at every booth and everyone will be scanned at the entry point. Apart from this, 1000 voters will be called instead of 1500 at each booth. If someone’s temperature is found high, then they will be able to vote in the last hour.

1. How will the nomination process happen this time?

  • Nomination forms will be provided online. Candidates will be able to fill it online only. He will have to hand over his print to the Election Officer.
  • The affidavit can also be filed online. Its print can be kept with you. After notarization, he can be assigned to the election officer with the nomination.
  • Candidates will be able to deposit the amount of bail online. The cash option will also be available.
  • At the time of submitting the nomination form, more than two people will not be able to accompany the candidate. They will also not be allowed to carry more than two vehicles.
  • The process of taking the nomination form, scrutinizing it and giving election marks, where complete, will be sufficient.
  • Candidates should be called at different times. The waiting area for the candidates should also be large.

2. How will voting take place at the polling booth?

  • Only 1000 voters will be called at a polling booth instead of 1500.
  • The polling station will be sanitized one day before voting.
  • Soap, water, the sanitizer will be provided at the entry and exit points of each polling station. Sanitizers will also be placed inside the booth.
  • Masks will be kept in the reserve at the booth for voters who do not come with a mask.
  • A thermal scanner will be installed at the entry point of each booth. Thermal checking will be done at the entry point of every voter.


3. What will happen if the temperature of the voter is high while going to vote?

  • If the temperature of a voter in the first reading is above the prescribed scale, then his/her temperature will be taken again. For the second time, if it turns out too high, the voter will be given a token/certificate and will be asked to come to the booth in the last hour of voting. In the last hour of voting, such voters will be allowed to vote.
  • Voters with more temperature will be given tokens on the basis of first low, first basis so that they do not have to stand in line. A help desk will also be created to give tokens.
  • If the polling agent or counting agent’s temperature is also found to be high, election officials will be able to allow his reliever to come to the booth.


4. Will Corona Positive patients be able to vote?

  • Patients who are quarantined due to corona will also be able to cast their votes under the supervision of health officials in the last hour of voting. They will coordinate the voting process of the patients with the concerned Sector Magistrate.
  • Separate guidelines will be issued for the voters who are living in the Containment Zone, how they will reach to vote.
  • Corona positive, corona suspects or quarantined people will also be able to vote with the postal ballot.


5. What other arrangements will be made at the polling booth?

  • For the social distancing of voters, 15 to 20 circles will be made at a distance of two yards i.e. 6-6 feet.
  • There will be three queues for voters. The first will be for men, the second for women and the third will be for Divyang and Senior Citizens.
  • If necessary for identification, the voter will be asked to bring down the mask.

Also Read: Poll During Pandemic: Polling Dates For Bihar Assembly Elections Likely To Be Announced In September

  • Only one voter can go in front of every election officer. Every voter will be given gloves to sign on the register and press the button of EVM.
  • Wherever possible, the Booth app will be used. Polling booths will have posters of Corona awareness.
  • A shed with chairs and carpets will also have a waiting area for men and women.
  • Every election officer will be given a mask, sanitizer, face shield and gloves.


6. Who can vote through the postal ballot?

  • Divyang
  • People over 80 years old
  • People involved in essential services
  • Corona positive / Corona suspect / Quarantined people at home or outside


7. How will election campaign take place?

  • Candidates will not be able to take more than 5 people along with them for security from house to house.
  • During the roadshow, only 5 vehicles can remain in one part of the convoy. After half an hour the second convoy of 5 vehicles can be taken out. Earlier there was a rule to keep a distance of 100 meters between 2 convoys of 10 vehicles each.
  • An election meeting will be held only if the guidelines related to the corona are fully adhered to. Marks will be made for social distancing at electoral meetings. More than the number fixed by the State Disaster Management Authority will not be able to attend the rally.

8. How will the votes be counted?

  • No more than 7 counting tables will be allowed in the counting hall. In such a situation, returning officers can count the votes cast for a constituency in 3-4 halls.
  • The control unit / VVPAT is required to be sanitized before placing it on the counting table. The task of removing the seal from the VVPAT and displaying the results on the control unit will be done by an officer at a table.
  • The result shown on the control unit can also be displayed on a large screen so that a large number of counting agents cannot accumulate in the counting hall.
  • The hall will be disinfected before counting, during counting and even after counting.
  • Extra manpower will be required to count the postal ballot.

General Guidelines of Election

  • Everyone involved in the election process must wear a mask.
  • There will be a thermal screening of every person in the rooms/premises used for election purposes.
  • Sanitation, soap and water will have to be provided there.
  • Social distancing will have to be maintained. For this, a large hall should be identified.
  • If any employee involved in election duty has a corona, then in return, enough staff should be hired to handle the duty.
  • The process of giving and gathering election materials should also take place in a large hall.
  • Every work related to the first and second EVMs should be done in a large hall.
  • Sanitizers will be present in sufficient quantity.
  • Gloves should be provided to every officer handling EVM / VVPAT.
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