With just five days to go for the panchayat polls on August 10, a fresh call has been made to allow senior citizens and the differently abled to vote through the postal ballot from their homes.
Returning Officers appointed by the State Election Commission, however, have firmly ruled out the possibility of the senior citizens and the differently abled getting the postal ballot facility.
In fact, a Returning Officer conducting election for the ensuing polls told The Goan that the polling officials have been instructed to accord priority and preference to the senior citizens and the differently abled to cast their ballot at the polling stations on the day of the polls.
Outgoing Seraulim panchayat member, Kevin D’Souza wondered why the SEC could not emulate the decision of the EC to provide the postal ballot facility for the elders and the differently abled to cast their vote in the coming polls. “There may be thousands of senior citizens and the differently abled who may not make it to the polling booths on August 10 because of their age and illness. Postal ballots for this section of the voters would have helped to cast their vote right at their homes,” he said.
He added: The SEC normally adopts the election procedure of the EC, including the electoral rolls. It would have gone a long way had SEC made available postal ballots for this section of the electorate.
When his attention was drawn to the statement made by a Returning Officer that the senior citizens and the differently abled will be given first preference at the polling stations, Kevin shot back ‘to get the preference at the polling stations, the senior citizens and the differently abled will have to first make it to the polling stations’.