Elections in the time of COVID- Bihar Elections Dates announced
The Election Commission on Friday announced that Bihar polls will be held in three phases on dates- October 28, November 3, and November 7. There will be strict protocols which have to be followed by political parties and the voters. It has been announced that it should be ensured that social distancing norms are followed. Bihar polls will be the first large scale election in the country after the COVID outbreak.
Some key changes in the voting process and infrastructure have been announced by the Election Commission. Earlier the voting time used to be 7:00 am to 5:00 pm which has now been changed to 7:00 am to 6:00, an extension of one hour to avoid crowding. However in the sensitive Maoist-hit areas, the voting time will remain like earlier. The number of voters per polling station has been cut down to 1000. To facilitate this, the number of polling stations have been increased from 65,337 stations in 2015 to over 1 lakh stations.
Hand gloves will be provided to voters for signing on voter registers and for pressing the EVM button. Face masks, sanitizers, thermal scanners, gloves, face shields, and PPE kits will be used in the electoral process. Only five people will be allowed for door to door campaigning. For public meetings and roadshows, permission should be sought from the Ministry of Home Affairs and State Authorities.
Earlier to file their nominations, candidates arrived at Returning Officer’s office with much celebration and a group of supporters to boose their morale, but this time there will be an option of online submission of the nomination form. For quarantined patients, there will be an option to vote at their respective area on the last day of the polls. To have a safer counting process, it has been instructed that only seven tables will be used in counting halls to maintain social distancing.
The votes will be counted and the results be declared on the 10th of November.