Election Commission issues guidelines for conducting upcoming polls during COVID19
Election Commission has issued detailed guidelines related to key activities for conducting upcoming General Elections and bye-elections in various States and Union Territories during the period of COVID-19 Pandemic.
The guidelines laid down strict compliance norms to be followed by Candidates and officials conducting the Elections. Those who found violating the instructions on COVID-19 measures even during the campaign process will be liable to be proceeded against, as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. During the campaign process, not more than 5 people have been allowed to do door to door campaigning. During the road shows, the convoy should have a gap after every set of five vehicles and Public gatherings and rallies can be conducted with strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.
The guidelines state that every person has to wear a face mask during election related activity. Thermal Scanning of all persons has also been necessitated at every entry point. Sanitizers, soap and water shall be made available in the premises. Social distancing shall be maintained as per the COVID-19 guidelines of the State Government and Ministry of Home Affairs.
During the voting process, in case, temperature of a voter is found to be above the set norms of the Health Ministry at first reading, then a subsequent reading shall be taken. In situations where the temperature remains high, then the elector will be provided with a token or a certificate and will be facilitated to vote during the last hour of the poll strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures. The guidelines also say that a maximum of only 1 thousand voters should be allowed in a polling station at a given point in time instead of the current norm of one thousand five hundred voters.
The guidelines say that large halls should be identified and utilized to ensure social distancing norms for election related activities. Adequate number of vehicles shall be mobilized for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of COVID-19 guidelines. Nodal Health Officer will also have to be designated for the State, the District and the Assembly Constituency to oversee COVID-19 related arrangements.
Election Commission in its guidelines has also stated that the training of election officials should be organized in a decentralized manner at large halls. It has also stressed on online modules of training as far as possible. All necessary forms including the Nomination form will be available online on the website of CEO and DEO for the intending candidates. Candidates can even deposit the security money through online mode at the designated platform. During the filing of nomination papers only two persons and vehicles are allowed to accompany a candidate