Preliminary Formation of Polling Party and Trainings Collection of voting machine and polling materials Photo Electoral Rolls Randomization of Electronic Voting Machines Setup of polling stations Security Arrangements at Polling Stations Assignment of duties to polling officers Regulation of entry into and seating arrangements in the Polling Station Setting up of voting machine before commencement of poll Preparation of control unit Conducting mock poll Fixing of green paper seal in the control unit Closing and sealing of control unit Commencement of the poll Safeguards for free and fair election Enforcement of election law in and around Polling Station Verification of elector’s identity and procedure in case of challenge Application of indelible ink and obtaining Signature/thumb impression of elector before permitting him to record his vote Recording of votes and voting procedure Maintenance of secrecy of voting by electors Voting by blind and infirm voters Electors deciding not to vote Voting by public servants on election duty certificates Issue of Postal Ballot Papers Voting by Proxy Tendered votes Adjournment/stoppage of poll for riot, booth capturing etc. Particulars Page No. XXIX XXX XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV Annexure I Annexure II Annexure III Annexure IV Annexure V Annexure VI Annexure VII Annexure VIII Annexure IX Annexure X Annexure XI Annexure XII Annexure XIII Annexure XIV Annexure XV Annexure XVI Annexure XVII Annexure XVIII
Close of poll Account of votes recorded Sealing of the voting machine after close of poll Sealing of election papers Preparation of the diary and delivery of voting machine and election papers at collection centres Brief guidelines for the Presiding Officers/Polling Officers Extracts from the Representation of the People Act, 1950 & 1951 Extracts from the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 with Form 17A, 17B, 17C Outlines of Functions to be performed by Presiding Officers Check Memo for Presiding Officers List of Polling Material for a polling station Model Polling Station for Electronic Voting Machine – Layout Declaration by the Presiding Officer Receipt for Challenge Fee Letter of complaint to the S. H.
O Form of declaration by elector about age List of voters from whom declaration as to their age obtained Declaration by the companion of Blind or Infirm elector Account of votes recorded Presiding Officer’s Diary Observer Report (Format for 16-Point Report) Sample of Referral Image Sheet Mock Poll Certificate Sample of Photo Electoral Roll Handbook for Presiding Officers of polling stations where Electronic Voting Machines are used. CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY 1. 1. 1 Introductory The objective of this Handbook is to provide you the information and guidance to perform your duties as a Presiding Officer. However, it may be noted that this Handbook cannot be treated as an exhaustive compendium in all aspects and as a substitute reference for various provisions of election law related to the conduct of poll. You should, wherever necessary, refer to those legal provisions which are reproduced in Annexures I and II.
You have been appointed under the provisions of Section 26 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and under the provisions of Section 28A thereof, you alongwith other officers designated for the conduct of any election shall be deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission for the period commencing on and from the date of the notification calling for such election and ending with the date of declaration of the results of such election and accordingly such officers shall during that period be subject to the control, superintendence and discipline of the Election Commission. As a Presiding officer, you are the most important officer at the polling station. A very important role has been assigned to you to perform at the polling station in the conduct of poll. You enjoy full legal power to control the proceedings in the polling station under your charge. At the same time you are fully responsible for all the activities taking place at the polling station. At the polling station, it is your primary duty and responsibility to ensure a free and fair poll at your polling station.
For this purpose it is necessary that you are fully conversant with the law and procedure and the relevant instructions and directions of the Commission in relation to the conduct of elections. Electronic Voting Machines are used now at each and every polling station. You as the Presiding Officer at the polling station should acquaint yourself fully with the latest position about the rules and procedures prescribed for the conduct of poll by voting machines. You should not only familiarise yourself thoroughly with rules and procedures but also with each step to be taken in the conduct of poll at the polling station, and with the operation of voting machine.
A slight mistake or lapse or wrong application of the law or rules or inadequate knowledge of various functions of the voting machine may vitiate the poll at your polling station. Brief introduction to voting machines The Electronic Voting Machines have been manufactured by two Central Government undertakings, namely, Electronics Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad and Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore have produced electronic voting machines. There are two models of the Electronic Voting Machines being used for the conduct of election in the country – existing model and upgraded model. There is only one difference, pertaining to the 1. 2 1. 3 23 2. 2. 1 display on the panels of the machines, in the two models, which has been explained in the subsequent chapters of the handbook. 2. The Electronic Voting Machine operates on a 6 volts battery and can be used anywhere and under any conditions. It is tamperproof, error-free and easy to operate. Both the units of the machine are supplied in two separate carrying cases which are easily portable. The polling information once recorded in the machine is retained in its memory even when the battery is removed. The Electronic Voting machine consists of two units, namely, Control Unit and Ballot unit. These two units are interconnected, when the voting machine is put in operation, by means of a cable, one end of which is permanently attached to the ballot unit. 2. 3 Control Unit 2. 3 Ballot unit
One ballot unit caters upto sixteen candidates. On the ballot unit, there is provision for display of the ballot paper containing the particulars of the election, the serial numbers and names of contesting candidates and the symbols respectively allotted to them. There is a blue button against the name of each candidate. By pressing this blue button, the voter can record his vote in favour of the candidate f his choice. Alongside the said button, there is also a lamp for each candidate. This lamp will glow red when the vote is recorded. Simultaneously a beep sound will also be heard. One control unit can record the votes polled by a maximum of 64 candidates.
For this purpose four ballot units linked together are connected with one control unit. On the top most portion of the control unit, there is provision for displaying the various information and data recorded in the machine, like the number of contesting candidates, total number of votes polled, votes polled by each candidate, etc. This portion is called, for easy reference, ‘Display Section’ of the control unit. Below the display section, there is a compartment for fixing the battery, which runs the machine. On the right side of this compartment, there is another compartment in which there is a button for setting the machine for the number of candidates, contesting the particular election.
This button is called the ‘Cand Set’ button and the whole section of the control unit containing these two compartments is called the ‘Cand Set Section’. Below the cand set section is the ‘Result Section’ of the control unit. This section contains (i) ‘Close’ button on the left side, used for closing the poll, (ii) two buttons in the middle – ‘Result I’ & ‘Result II’ for ascertaining separately the result of parliamentary and assembly polls (at present the 2. 4 machine is used for only one poll – either parliamentary or assembly) and (iii) ‘Clear’ button on the right side, for clearing the data recorded in the machine, when the data is no more required.
In the bottom portion of the control unit, there are two buttons – one marked ‘Ballot’ and other marked ‘Total’. By pressing the button ‘Ballot’, the ballot unit becomes ready to record the vote and by pressing the button ‘Total’, the total number of votes recorded upto that stage (but without the candidate-wise break up) can be ascertained. This section is known as the ‘Ballot Section’ of the control unit. (In the upgraded model the ‘Result II’ button has been replaced with ‘Print’ button, by pressing which a printout of the detailed result can be obtained. For this purpose a special gadget is to be attached to the Control Unit. ) Legal provisions regarding conduct of poll 3.
The provisions of the law which have a bearing on your duties as a Presiding Officer are reproduced in Annexures I and II. While detailed directions and instructions are contained in the various Chapters of this Handbook, some of the salient and important aspects of your duties are given below for your guidance: (i) You should acquaint yourself fully with the latest position about the rules and procedures prescribed for the conduct of poll by voting machines (referred to above in para 1. 1 above). You should familiarise yourself thoroughly with the operation of the voting machine and the functions of various buttons and switches provided therein. This has been described in details under para 2 titled ‘Brief introduction to voting machines’ above). You must keep in ready possession all relevant instructions of the Commission. You must have a clear idea of the location of your polling station and your itinerary to and from the polling station, so as to enable yourself to reach your polling station in time without losing any time in finding out the way to the polling station. You must not miss any of the training classes, lest you find yourself groping in the dark for various important instructions. while collecting election materials, you should ensure that all items have been handed over to you as per the list supplied alongwith the material.
The most important items are (i) electronic voting machine (ballot unit and control unit), (ii) tendered ballot papers, (iii) Register of Voters (Form 17A), (iv) marked copy of electoral roll (v) Form 17C Format of the Presiding Officer’s Diary and (vi) extra copies of the roll, green paper seals, strip seals, special tags, statutory forms, sealing wax and indelible ink. On arrival at the polling station, you should have a clear idea of the arrangements to be made for setting up of the polling station in a proper way especially to secure secrecy of voting, regulation of queue of voters, protection of poll proceedings free from outside interference, 24 Broad outlines of duties 4 (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) etc.
On arrival at the dispersal centre you should also ensure whether your polling station has CPF or police arrangement. Also whether there is Micro-Observer and Video Camera deployment at the polling station. (viii) Before the commencement of poll, the voting machine has to be demonstrated to the polling agents, who are present at the polling station at the time of commencement of the poll, to satisfy them that no votes are already recorded therein and that the machine is in perfect working condition. For these purposes, a mock poll shall be compulsorily held by letting the polling agents record a few votes at random for each of the contesting candidates and tallying the result thereafter.
You should be clear that according to the Commission’s instructions, if there is no mock poll at a polling station, there shall be no poll at that polling station After holding the mock poll, the votes recorded at such mock poll must be cleared from the control unit of the voting machine so that no data relating to the mock poll remains in the memory of the machine. The control unit of the voting machine then must be sealed and secured by fixing the green paper seal(s) and special tag in the space provided therefor and the strip seal. The procedure for this sealing is explained in detail in Chapters XIII and XIV. The poll must commence at the hour fixed for such commencement by the Election Commission.
Before commencing the poll, the candidates or their agents, who are present at the polling station and the polling officers should be briefed about the maintenance of secrecy of vote. The provisions of section 128 of the Representation of the people Act, 1951 should be read out and brought to their notice. At the commencement of poll, you have to make a declaration in a prescribed form about the demonstration of the voting machine, marked copy of the electoral roll and the Register of Voters to candidates or their polling agents present and get it signed by them. According to the directions of the Commission all electors who have been issued with Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) should produce those cards to exercise their franchise at all general and bye-elections.
Those who fail to bring EPICs or who have not been issued with or who have not obtained their EPICs, can be identified by means of the photographs on the electoral rolls, where Photo Electoral Rolls have been supplied at the polling station. In the case of those electors whose identity cannot be established by means of the photograph on the electoral rolls, the identity shall be established by means of any of the alternative documents prescribed by the Commission. Further, if an elector produces an Electoral Identity Card which has been issued by the Electoral Registration Officer of another Assembly Constituency, such cards shall also be taken into account provided the name of that elector finds place in the electoral roll pertaining to the polling station, where the elector has turned up for voting. (ix) (x) (xi) (xii) (xiii) (xiv)
The identity of elector should be properly verified by the First Polling Officer with reference to his entry in the electoral roll, the Elector’s Photo Identity Card, the photograph of the elector on the Photo Electors Rolls (If the polling station is one, where Photo Electors Rolls have been supplied) or with reference to any of the other alternative document(s) prescribed by the Election Commission of India. The Election Commission issues directions from time to time prescribing various other documents with reference to which the identity of an election can be verified. The unofficial identity slip carried by an elector cannot be accepted as a proof of his identity.
Last four digits of the EPIC/Identity documents produced by the elector should be entered in the ‘Remarks’ column of the Register of Voters (Form 17-A) After an elector has been identified, the entry relating to the elector in the marked copy of the electoral roll should be underlined. In addition, if the elector is a female elector, a tick mark (v ) will also be put on the left side of entry. (xv) (xvi) (xvii) After an elector is identified with reference to his entry in the electoral roll and with the help of the document(s) prescribed by the Election Commission of India, the left forefinger should be marked with the indelible ink by the Second Polling Officer. The method of marking the left hand forefinger has been explained in Chapter VIII. ) (xviii) The serial number (and not the name) of the elector as given in the marked copy of the electoral roll should be noted in the Register of Voters (Form 17A). (xix) The signature or thumb impression of the elector should be obtained on the Register of Voters (Form 17A) before he is allowed to record his vote. If an elector refuses to put his signature or thumb impression on the Register of Voters, he shall not be permitted to vote and an entry ‘Refused to vote’ will be made in the ‘Remarks’ column of the Register of Voters. You will have to sign below such entry.
However, if an elector after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form 17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decides not to record his vote, a remark to this effect – ‘Refused to vote’ shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by you and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark. In such case it shall not be necessary to make any change in the serial number of the elector or of any succeeding elector in column 1 of the register of voters (Form 17A). If the “Ballot” button on the control unit has already been pressed to release voting on the ballot unit by a voter and he refuses to vote, either the Presiding Officer/third Polling Officer, whoever is in-charge of the control unit, should direct the next voter straightaway to proceed to the voting compartment to record his vote.
In the alternative the Officer in-charge of the control unit should put the ‘Power’ switch in the rear compartment of the control unit to ‘OFF’ position, and then again to ‘ON’ position, press the ‘Ballot’ button and direct the next voter to proceed to the voting compartment to record his vote. (xx) In another eventuality, when the “Ballot” button on the control unit has been pressed to release voting on the ballot unit and the last voter refuses to vote, the Presiding Officer/third Polling Officer, whoever is in-charge of the control unit shall put the ‘Power’ switch in the rear compartment of the control unit to ‘OFF’ position and disconnect the ballot unit(s) from the control unit. After disconnecting the ballot unit(s) from the control unit the ‘Power’ switch should again be put ‘ON’.
Now the ‘Busy’ lamp will go off and the ‘Close’ button will become functional to close the poll. After the signature or thumb impression of the elector has been obtained on the Register of Voters and his left hand forefinger has been marked with the indelible ink, he shall be issued a voter’s Slip (in the prescribed form) showing the serial number at which the entry relating to him has been made in the Register of voters. (xxi) (xxii) The electors shall be allowed to record their votes in the voting machine on the basis of the Voters’ slips strictly in the same order in which they have been entered in the register of voters. (xxiii) If you consider an elector to be much below the minimum age of voting, i. e. 18 years, but are otherwise satisfied about his identity and the fact of inclusion of his name in the electoral roll, you should obtain a declaration from him about his age, in the form of declaration in Annexure X. (xxiv) It is your foremost duty to go on recording the relevant events as and when they occur in the Presiding Officer’s Diary. (xxv) It may happen sometimes that you may have a suspicion or reason to suspect that the ballot unit kept in the screened voting compartment is not functioning properly or that an elector who has entered the voting compartment is tampering with or otherwise interfering with the balloting unit by inserting an object or fixing cello-tape or match stick or chewing gum on the blue button or has remained inside the voting compartment for unduly long period.
You have a right under rule 49 to enter the voting compartment in such cases and to take such steps as may be considered necessary by you to ensure that the balloting unit is not tampered with or interfered with in any way and that the poll progresses smoothly and orderly. However, be careful that, whenever you enter the voting compartment, do not enter the compartment alone. You should permit and take one or two or more polling agents present at the polling station to accompany you. (xxvi) If any incident takes place at the polling station and is not reported by you, but reported from any other source, the Commission may take a serious view and initiate action against you. (xxvii) You have to regulate the proceedings in the polling station for eaceful and smooth conduct of poll. You require much tact for this purpose, but at the same time you should be firm and impartial. (xxviii) You have to periodically verify the total number of votes polled till a particular hour by pressing ‘Total’ button. (xxix) You must close the poll at the hour fixed for the purpose by the Election Commission, even if the commencement of poll was delayed for any reason. However, all voters present at the polling station at the closing hour of poll shall be allowed to vote even if that means the continuing of poll for some more time. It should also be ensured that after the closing hour of poll nobody joins the queue of voters.
For this purpose, you should distribute numbered slips, signed by you, to all voters standing in the queue starting such distribution of slips from the last person standing in the queue. (xxx) At the close of poll, you are required to prepare an ‘Account of Votes Recorded’ in Part I of Form 17C and obtain the signature of the polling agents in the column specified for the purpose in that Form. Authenticated copies of such account of votes recorded are required to be given to the polling agent of each candidate present at the polling station. You are also required to make a declaration regarding furnishing of such copies to the candidates’ agents in the form prescribed by the Commission. xxxi) After the close of poll, the voting machine and all election papers should be sealed and secured in the manner prescribed by the Election Commission. Candidates or their agents present at the polling station shall also be allowed to affix their seals, if they so desire, on the voting machine and the election papers in addition to your seals. You should follow carefully the relevant instructions about the sealing and securing of voting machines and election papers so that no mistake is committed. (xxxii) it is your personal responsibility to hand over the voting machine and all election papers duly sealed and secured to the officer responsible for the collection thereof, under proper receipt. 5. 6.
Your duties in brief at various stages are given in Annexure III under five different heads for your ready reference and convenience. Check Memo To ensure that you have fulfilled the various statutory requirements in connection with the election, the Election commission has drawn up a CHECK MEMO for you, which is given in Annexure IV. The said CHECK MEMO should be properly maintained by you. 30 CHAPTER II FORMATION OF POLLING PARTY AND TRAININGS 1. Polling Party: Now that the poll is conducted with the use of Electronic Voting Machines, your party will consist of yourself and two or three Polling Officers, at an election to the House of the People or State Legislative Assembly at a time.
However, where the number of electors assigned to a Polling Station is very large, say, 1500 or and more, or there are specific instructions from the Commission or the CEO, an additional Polling Officer may be appointed by the District Election Officer/Returning Officer to assist you. While appointing the polling party your District Election Officer/Returning Officer will also authorise one of the Polling Officers in your party to perform the duties of Presiding Officer in case you fail to be on duty at the polling station due to some unavoidable reason. For the conduct of poll at simultaneous election, however, your party will consist of yourself and five Polling Officers. 2. 2. 1 Polling trainings The District Election Officer/Returning Officer will arrange training classes for you and the Polling Officers. Attend all such training classes.
These classes will help you acquaint yourself with the operation of voting machine and for obtaining a clear idea of the polling procedure to be followed at the polling station and understand the provisions of the law. Ensure that at the training classes you are provided with a copy of the Handbook for Presiding Officers published by the Election Commission of India explaining the detailed procedure to be followed at the polling stations, where voting machines are to be used. (Returning Officers have separately been directed to do so in the Handbook for Returning Officers. ) You will also be given an Identity Card, which should be displayed on your body.
You must take with you the Polling Officer authorised to perform your duties in your unavoidable absence to these rehearsals. It is absolutely necessary that you and such authorised Polling Officer should do the various operations on the voting machine yourself/himself personally and should not be content with simply watching the demonstration. Both of you should also familiarise yourselves with the fixing of the green paper seals, special tag, strip seal and address tags, etc. Ensure that you and the Polling Officer accompanying you for the training classes do not fiddle with the machine unnecessarily. You should also prepare a sample Account of Votes Recorded and paper seal account in Form 17C. Do not take the training classes/rehearsals lightly.
Even if you had worked as Presiding Officer or Polling Officer in some earlier election, where voting machines were used, you must attend all the training classes/rehearsals, as during the training classes/rehearsals you may come to know some new facts/instructions/provisions of law. The election law and procedure, are being amended from time to time and it is necessary that you keep yourself abreast abut the latest provisions of law, rules, instructions etc. Further, it is 2. 2 2. 3 2. 4 3. 3. 1 always necessary to refresh your memory even if there is no change in the law and procedure. By the last of the training classes you should be thorough in the operation of the Electronic Voting Machines, fixing of green paper seal, special tag, strip seal and all sealing procedure.
Application for Postal Ballot Paper You and your Polling Officer may be electors in the same constituency in which you are posted on duty or in some other constituency. The District Election Officer/Returning Officer will Issue the order of appointment appointing you as Presiding Officer in duplicate and alongwith this order the District Election Officer/Returning Officer will send you sufficient number of Forms 12 and 12A to enable you and the Polling Officers to apply for Postal Ballot Papers and Election Duty Certificates. If nay one of you is an elector in the same constituency, you can apply for an Election Duty Certificate in Form 12A to the Returning Officer.
For an official, who is an elector from a constituency other than the one where one is posted on election duty, he will have to apply for a postal ballot paper in Form 12. In either case you have to send the application form immediately along with the duplicate copy of the order of appointment as otherwise there may not be enough time to receive the Election Duty Certificate/Postal Ballot Paper. Instructions have been issued that the procedure of postal ballot voting should be explained in the training classes. It may be noted that once a postal ballot is issued to you, you can vote only through postal ballot, even if you are not actually deployed for election duty for any reason.
During rehearsals/training classes, a copy each of the electoral rolls for all the assembly constituencies in the district will be made available for inspection by the District Election Officer at the centre(s) for rehearsal and training classes, so that you can note down your particulars regarding electoral roll numbers, which you will have to furnish in your applications for Postal Ballot Paper. Spare copies of Forms 12 will also be available at the said centre(s). Sub-rule (2) of rule 24 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, for voters on electini duty the declaration in Form 13A can be attested by any gazetted officer. Under the rules, you can also attest the declarations of Polling Officers working with you.
It is advisable to apply for postal ballot papers immediately after coming to know about your appointment on election duty without waiting for information about place of duty to apply. 3. 2 3. 3 3. 4 9 CHAPTER III 3 COLLECTION OF VOTING MACHINE AND POLLING MATERIALS Polling materials On the day previous to the day of poll or on the day of departure for the polling station you will be supplied with all the election materials, a list of which is set out in Annexure V. Before leaving for your polling station, make sure that you have received all the items. 1. 2. Checking of voting machine: Check, in particular, the following: (1) That the control unit and the ballot unit(s) of the voting machine given to you are the same which are meant for use at your polling station.
This shall be checked with reference to the address tags attached to the said units as the number and name of the polling station shall be indicated by the Returning Officer on each of those address tags. The address tag for control unit will contain the following particulars: “Election to the ……….. ………… from …………. constituency Control Unit No…. ………… Sl. No. and Name of Polling Station……….. Date of Poll…………….. The address tag for ballot unit will contain the following particulars: “Election to the ……….. ……….. from …………. constituency Ballot unit …………. Sl. No. and Name of Polling Station……….. Date of Poll. ……………. 2) (3) That the ‘Cand Set Section’ of control unit is duly sealed and the address tag is firmly attached thereto. That the battery installed in the ‘Cand Set Section’ of the control unit is fully operational. This may be checked by putting the Power Switch provided in the rear compartment to `ON’ position. After the said checking, the power switch must be put to `OFF’ position. That you have been supplied with the requisite number of ballot units and the ballot papers are duly fixed under the Ballot Paper Screen in each of them. The number of ballot units to be supplied to you will be dependent upon the number of contesting candidates in your (4) constituency.
If the number of contesting candidates is between 2 and 16, only one ballot unit will be supplied and the slide switch seen through the window at the right side top of the ballot unit will have been set by the Returning Officer at position ‘1’. If the number of contesting candidates is between 17 and 32, you will be supplied with two ballot units. On the first ballot unit in which the abovementioned slide switch will be set to position `1′ the ballot paper will contain the names of the candidates at Sl. Nos. , 1 to 16 in the list of contesting candidates. The second ballot unit will display the second sheet of the ballot paper containing the names of contesting candidates from 17 onwards (and upto 32) and the slide switch in that unit will be set to the position `2′.
Likewise, three ballot units will be supplied if the number of contesting candidates is between 33 and 48 and there will be four such units if the number of candidates exceeds 48 and is upto 64. In the third ballot unit the ballot paper will contain the names of candidates from Sl. Nos. 33 onwards (upto 48) and its slide switch will be set to the position `3′. The fourth ballot unit will display on the ballot paper fixed therein the names of candidates from serial No. 49 onwards (upto 64) and its slide switch will show the position `4′. Ensure that the “slide switch(s)” on the ballot unit(s) has/have been secured with the help of transparent cello tape. The Slide switch has markings 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The switch should be kept in position ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘4’as explained above. The position of the switch can be seen through the small window at the right side top of the Ballot unit. The position of the Slide switch in the upgraded model will be seen as shown below:- Position 1 Position 2 Position 3 Position 4 If you find any discrepancy in the fixing of the Slide switch, immediately bring it to the notice of Sector Magistrate/Returning Officer. But in any case you or your Polling Officers should not fiddle with the Slide switch. (5) That the ballot papers and slide switches on each of the ballot units have been correctly fixed/set as explained in the preceding item.
It must also be ensured that the ballot papers as fixed on the ballot units are properly aligned and that the name and symbol of each candidate is in line with his corresponding lamp and button and the thick lines dividing the panels of the candidates on the ballot paper are in line with the corresponding grooves on the ballot unit. (6) That the candidates’ blue buttons which have been unmasked and are visible on the ballot units are equal to the number of contesting candidates, and that the remaining buttons, if any, have been masked. That each of the ballot units is duly sealed and secured at two places, i. e. at right top and right bottom portions, with the seals of the Returning Officer, and that the address tags are firmly attached thereto. (7) 3.
Checking of Polling materials Check also(1) that 2 bigger phials of 10 cc of indelible ink have been provided in the kit and there is sufficient quantify of ink in each of the two phials supplied to you since now the ink has to be put on the left hand forefinger as a line from the top of the nail to the bottom of first joint of the finger and that the stamp pads are not dry; that all the three copies (in the case of simultaneous poll five copies) of the relevant part of the electoral roll are complete and identical in every respect and, in particular, that(a) the relevant part given to you pertains to the area for which the polling station has been set up and that it is complete in all respects alongwith the supplements, in every copy; all deletions of names and corrections of clerical or other errors as per the supplement have been duly incorporated in all the copies; all the pages in each working copy of the roll have been serially numbered from No. 1 onwards. the printed serial numbers of the voters are not corrected with ink or otherwise and no new numbers are substituted for them; the marked copy of he electoral roll (copy of the electoral roll to be used for ‘marking’ the names of electors, who are allowed to vote) does not contain any remarks other than those used for issuing postal ballot papers (such as ‘PB’ ‘CSV’ and that the deletions appearing in the supplement, if any, appended to the draft roll as well as the supplement prepared after disposal of claims and objections before final publication, have been reflected in the reprinted mother roll by strikethrough method in the electoral roll of eight columns without photograph, and with the word “D E L E T E D” superimposed on the concerned elector detail box in case of photo electoral roll or carrying out corrections or inserting the unique Nos. f the EPICs issued upto the time of reprinting, and that while doing so no other entry is either deleted or altered or omitted; the electoral roll is duly signed by one of the AEROs and one more official (2) (b) (c) (d) (f) (g) (h) A certificate signed in ink by the RO/ARO in the following format has been attached on the top of one copy of the roll to be used as Marked copy:Certificate (Where the roll is reprinted to reflect deletions and corrections in the Supplement No. 1 ; 2) This to certify that the electoral roll of Part No. …… of ……………Assembly Constituency, reprinted after reflecting the deletions an corrections shown in Supplement Nos. 1 ; 2 has been thoroughly compared and no discrepancy has been found. There are total ______ numbers of pages ( from 1 to ____) Dated: Signature ; Seal of the Returning Officer/Asstt.
Returning Officer OR Certificate (Where discrepancies are noticed in the reprinted roll on comparison with the finally published roll and the roll finally published and Supplement No. 2 of continuous updating is used for preparing working/marked copies instead of the reprinted roll. ) This to certify that the electoral roll of Part No. …… of ……………Assembly Constituency is prepared using the finally published roll and the Supplement No. 2 thereof. There are total ____ numbers of pages (From 1 to _____). This is the authentic copy of the electoral roll and in case of any discrepancy, whatsoever, this roll shall prevail. Signature ; Seal of the Returning Officer/Asstt.
Returning Officer that alongwith the marked copy of the electoral roll the referral image sheets of those electors, whose EPICs were prepared during the EPIC campaign conducted to increase the photo coverage in the Photo Electoral Rolls but the images could not be printed in the Photo Electoral Rolls, have been given to you to facilitate the working at the polling station to identify the electors. The referral image sheets would be having Sr. No. , name of elector, relation name and stamp size photograph of the elector. In case of any doubt raised by the polling agent, they can also be shown referral image sheet (if asked for by them) so that transparency in the process may be maintained on the day of poll. A sample of the referral image sheet is placed at ANNEXURE-VI. that alongwith the marked copy of the electoral roll the list of absentee, shifted voters, if any, have been given to you to facilitate the working at the polling station to identify the electors. hat the tendered ballot papers supplied to you are for the same constituency in which the polling station assigned to you is situated and Dated: (3) (4) (5) that they are not defective in any respect. You should also check that their serial numbers tally with the details supplied to you. (6) If you find any voting machine or any polling material defective in any respect, you must immediately bring such defect to the notice of the officer in-charge of distribution of voting machines/polling materials or the Returning Officer for necessary remedial action. Check also that photocopies of specimen signatures of the contesting candidates and their election agents are also given to you.
This will help you in verifying genuineness of the signature of the candidate/his election agent in the appointment letter of polling agent(s) at the polling station. (7) CHAPTER IV PHOTO ELECTORAL ROLLS 1. 1. 1. Photo Electoral Rolls Photo Elctoral Rolls (PER) are available in all States and Union Territories now. This has been done with a view of prevent impersonation on the day of poll. The Photo Electoral Roll contains the photographs of the electors in addition to all the information presently incorporated in the existing rolls as per sample format. This simplifies the process of verification of elector’s identity at the polling station on the day of poll. A sample of the Photo Electoral Roll apart from the Title page, Part Header, etc. is annexed at ANNEXTURE XVIII. As per the directions of the Commission The EPIC is used for identification of electors at the polling stations. However, if the photograph of the elector is available in the electoral roll, he/she can be identified by means of the photographs on the electoral rolls In the case of those electors, whose identity cannot be established even by means of the photograph in the electoral rolls or whose photograph is not available in the electoral roll, the identity shall be established by means of any of the alternative documents prescribed by the Commission. Separate order for this purpose will be issued by the Commission for each election.
In so far as the production of EPIC for verification of the elector’s identity is concerned, it may be clarified that If an elector produces an electors photo identity card, which has been issued by the Electoral Registration Officer of another assembly constituency, such card shall also be taken into account provided the name of that elector finds place in the electoral roll pertaining to the polling station where the elector has turned up for voting. But in such cases, it should be ensured that the elector does not vote at more than one place by thoroughly checking the left hand forefinger of the elector to see that there is no indelible ink mark thereon, and by applying the indelible ink on the left forefinger properly while allowing him to vote. 1. 2. 1. 3. 1. 4. CHAPTER V RANDOMIZATION OF ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES
After the Election Commission of India used the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) on an experimental basis for the first time in 1982 in an election in Kerala, the use of EVM was gradually increased and finally the universal use of EVM in the country became a reality in the year 2004 when EVM was used in all polling stations in the General Election to the Lok Sabha. The efficacy of EVM has stood the judicial scrutiny and the independent studies made on the use of EVM have also confirmed the voters’ satisfaction about the use of EVM in elections. The Election Commission of India, from time to time, has been issuing instructions on various measures to be taken at the time of preparation of EVM for use in the elections (vide no 51/8/7/2007-PLN-IV12th October,2007); protocol for first level checking of EVMs before elections (vide 51/8/16/4/2007, dated 12th October,2007) and on protocol for security measures for EVMs (vide 464/)BS/EVM/2007 PLN-IV, 12th October,2007).
In the Handbook for Returning Officers (at elections where electronic voting machines are used) published by the media coordination ; publication division of the Commission provides detailed instructions on the various aspects of the EVM management. With an aim at greater transparency, the Commission has introduced a randomization protocol for the deployment of EVM in various assembly constituencies/ assembly segments, as an additional measure and has issued the following instructions to be followed meticulously and without any deviation:1. As a general policy, all EVMs available within a district shall be stored at the district headquarters under the direct control of the District Election Officer.
It may be possible that due to want of storage space the EVMs may be stored in a decentralized manner in different locations. Even in such cases, for the purpose of first level checking and randomization procedure proposed to be introduced through this instruction, all EVMs available in the district shall be brought to the district headquarters under proper escort. 2. The first level checking as prescribed in the earlier instructions shall from now onwards be carried out by the BEL/ECIL engineers, as the case may be, only at the district head quarters. For coordinating all activities connected with the first level checking, the DEO shall nominate a nodal officer at his level and intimate the name of such officer to the CEO.
The first level checking will be done by following the existing instructions and procedures. 3. For the purpose of tracking various steps taken in the process of first level checking, randomization and deployment of EVM, an adhesive label (preprinted sticker) will be prepared and kept ready for use. (This can be organized centrally by the CEO or the DEO can print at their level as per the decision of CEO in this regard). A sample model of such label is given in below. KARNATAKA LA 2008: District Name: CU. NO. District Running Srl. No. Current ID 0 1 First Level Check Date 2 Rep. BEL Rep. D. E. O. CU Randomization 1 Date Rep D. E. O. / R. O. Randomization 2 Date:
Deployment Status P. S. No. R. O. / ARO. 4. As soon as the first level check is over, the sticker will be pasted on the back side of the CU and the checking-engineer will put his signature indicating the date in the relevant slot provided in the sticker. This would mean that the CU is in order in every respect. The unique machine number of the control unit (CU) will be also indicated in the relevant slot in the sticker; besides, a running serial number will also be allotted to the CU and will be indicated in the relevant slot. Simultaneously, the representative of DEO, duly authorized for this purpose, will also put his signature in the relevant space.
After this, the CU shall be stored with due precaution and care. In case of any CU found to be defective during checking, such CUs shall be isolated and kept separately for follow up action for rectification of defect. The above procedure will also be applicable for the Ballot Units which will be verified, signed and numbered in the above manner. 5. A database of the CUs and BUs verified and certified will be prepared separately and kept in readiness for randomization. The data base structure will contain details of CUs and BUs indicating the machine number (original number given by the manufacturer as inscribed on a metallic plate at the back side of the CU/BU as the case may be. The CUs/ BUs so verified shall be kept under proper lock and key. 6. The DEO will fix up a schedule, which should in any case be fixed before the start of training of polling personnel, for randomization of CUs/BUs for distribution to ACs in the presence of the representatives of recognized political parties. The randomization will be done in such a way that the CUs/BUs are randomly selected by grouping them to match the poll day requirement including the reserve required for each constituency. Again, the surplus CUs/BUs shall also be randomly grouped and distributed AC wise for the purpose of training (for the training of the polling staff as well as for the purpose of voter awareness).
A sticker of different color shall be affixed at the front side of the CUs/ BUs set aside for training purpose clearly indicating the State name of election and year of election, such as “Karnataka 2008: Training CU/ BU”. While randomizing the CUs/BUs the DEO shall take the number of polling stations in each constituency into account. 7. After AC wise grouping of CUs/BUs is done in the above manner, a ‘current ID’ shall be assigned to each of CU/BU in the relevant slot provided in the sticker. The ‘current ID’ would mean ‘the AC no followed by a new running serial number for that AC’. For example if AC No 56 is allotted 280 CUs and BUs (from Sl. No. 001 to 280) the current ID for the CUs would be from ‘56/CU/001’ to ‘56/CU/280’. Similarly the current ID for BU would read ‘56/BU/001 to 56/BU/280’ 8.
The randomized list of CUs and BUs allotted to each AC for use at polling stations as well as the training EVMs shall be prepared separately and signed by the DEOs representative and the R. O and that list shall be handed over to all representatives of the recognized political parties. Even if a representative is not available at the time of randomization, the list shall still be sent to the party office and a receipt obtained. 9. Thereafter, the R. O of the constituency, shall take charge of the CUs/Bus randomly allotted to his constituency. The CUs/BUs meant for use at the election shall be separately taken to R. O’s strong room under proper escort and will be guarded.
The training EVMs shall be distributed to the relevant officers for the training purpose. At the time of sealing the strong room, the representatives of political parties can remain present and they can also affix their seal on the lock. 10. On the day fixed for preparing the CUs/BUs for use in the election, the R. O will ensure that the preparation of CUs/BUs is done invariably in the presence of the candidate or his agent or authorized representative and in the presence of the observer as per the existing instructions of the Commission. Now, the R. O will do the second randomization of the CUs/ BUs to allot the CU/ BU to specific polling stations.
After that he will write the PS No to which the CU/BU has been randomly allotted in the slot provided for it in the adhesive label. The remaining CUs/BUs (not allotted to any specific PS) shall be kept as ‘Reserve’ for use if needed. Such CUs /BUs shall be marked as ‘R’ – meaning ‘Reserve’ in the slot meant for PS No. 11. At this stage, the CU and BU randomly earmarked PS-wise as above shall be identified by matching the PS no. and kept in pair by tagging them together. Any candidate/ agent present at the preparation hall may choose to get the CU/BU again checked by the master trainers/technical personnel if available through a ‘mock poll cum result verification’ in order to satisfy themselves/himself about the functioning of the EVM. The R.
O should also, as a pro-active measure, do a random verification of at least 10% of such CU-BU pairs to test the working status of the EVMs. 12. Then a Polling Station-wise list indicating the Current ID and machine number of the CU/BU allotted to each PS will be prepared and signed by the R. O. The R. O will also prepare a separate list of CUs/BUs marked as ‘R’ indicating the current ID and machine number. Both the above lists will be signed by R. O and copies shared with the candidates/ agents/ representatives and their signature shall be obtained as the token of receipt. 13. As per the existing instructions two types of address tags – one for use on CU and another on BU have been prescribed.
From now on wards, the tag shall also contain the current ID no (as mentioned in the sticker- read para 7 above). The address tag attached to reserve CU/ BU shall indicate the ‘Reserve’ status of the unit. The tagging of address tag shall also be done at this stage itself – in the presence of candidates/ agents/ observer. All the CUs/ BUs allotted to Polling Stations as above as well as the reserve machines shall be kept in the strong room in the presence of candidates/ agents. They can also be allowed to affix their seal on the lock of the strong room. 14. When the EVMs are taken out of the strong room for dispatch, the usual precaution of informing the date and time of opening of strong room in writing to the candidates/ agents shall be followed. 15.
At the time of dispatch the Presiding Officers shall be advised to compare the machine number inscribed on the metal label and the adhesive sticker and also verify the PS no. indicated on the sticker compared with PS no. mentioned in the address tag before accepting the EVM. Discrepancy if any shall be brought to the notice of the officer in charge of dispatch arrangement and be reconciled. 16. The candidates may be advised to share the current ID and machine number of the EVM (both CU/ BU) allotted to the specific PS with their polling agent/agents appointed by them so that they are in a position to inspect the EVM for their satisfaction before the commencement of mock poll on the poll day. The Presiding Officers shall be advised to display the sticker containing the machine number and current ID etc. to the agents present before the commencement of the mock poll. It is relevant to note that as per the existing instructions the presiding officer is supposed to mention the number of CU/CUs used; serial numbers of CU/CUs used; number of BU/BUs used and serial numbers of BU/BUs used at the polling station in the Presiding Officer’s Diary. This instruction shall be scrupulously followed. 17. In case of replacement of CU or BU due to some reason at any polling station, the sector officer or any authorized officer, who effects such replacement, shall prepare a special report indicating the machine number and current ID of the existing CU/BU and new CU /BU separately.
The officer shall also mention in the special report, the reason for deployment of the spare CU/BU and the time of such replacement, votes polled in the replaced machine at that point of time and leave one copy of the special report with the Presiding Officer while retaining a copy to be handed over to the R. O. 18. The machines shall be escorted back after the poll is over to the reception centers under proper escort. After all formalities are completed, the EVMs shall be kept in strong room and the room sealed in the presence of the candidates/their agents and observer. 19. In case of repoll, the EVM required for repoll shall be drawn from the reserve list and the CU/BU number shall be informed to the candidates/agents in writing. Care shall be taken to ensure that the address tag on the CU and BU clearly mentions it to be the EVM for use in the repoll indicating the date and PS no. 20.
After repoll, for the storage of the repolled EVM, the strong room shall be reopened in the presence of the candidates/ their agents and observer. This repoll EVM should be placed together with the old EVM which was used earlier in the original poll. A tag ‘Not to be counted’ shall be put prominently on the old EVM and another tag ‘Repoll EVM – to be counted’ shall be put on the new repoll EVM. RO shall put signature on both the tags. 21. The political parties/candidates shall be advised in writing to properly train their counting staff and to bring (for tallying purpose) their copies of Form 17-C which shows the machine numbers used at the polling station and was handed over to them at the close of the polling by the presiding officer.
The candidates have already been given a consolidated list of polling station wise list of CUs used during the polls (Read Para 12 above). This along with the additional information given by RO in writing to the candidates regarding the machine numbers of CUs used as replacement and the CUs used during repoll will give a complete picture of the all the EVMs used at polling stations. In order to further facilitate, additionally, the RO shall paste the EVM deployment account indicating the CU numbers of EVM used polling station wise in the relevant counting hall itself for everyone to see. 22. All the stages enumerated above shall invariably be fully covered with videography and records kept properly. CHAPTER VI
SET UP OF POLLING STATIONS 1. Arrival at the Polling Station You should be at the polling station with your party at least 2 hours before the time at which the poll is due to commence. In case you are not in a position to reach the polling station on the day poll in time as mentioned above, you can reach the polling station on the day previous to the day of poll and sleep at the polling station itself. In such case beware that you do not open the Electronic Voting Machine. Further you should not accept the hospitality of the local people. In any case follow the instruction of the District Election Officer/Returning Officer in this regard strictly. 3.
Absence of Polling Officer If any Polling Officer appointed for your polling station is absent from the polling station, you may appoint any person who is present at the polling station, to be the polling officer to take his place and inform the District Election Officer accordingly.. But such person should not be a person who has been employed by or on behalf of, or has been otherwise working for, a candidate in or about the election, 5. 5. 1 Set up of Polling Stations for single election On your arrival at the place where the polling station is to be set up, inspect the building proposed for the purpose and plan the set up. If the polling station has already been set up, inspect the polling station itself. Diagrams of model polling stations showing the layouts when the polling party consist of 3 Polling Officers at a single election, is set out in Annexure VI. ) It is open to you to make minor modifications in the actual set up of the polling station, if considered necessary; but make sure that – (a) (b) (c) (d) there is enough space for the voters to wait outside the polling station; there is separate waiting space for men and women as far as practicable; there is separate entrance and exit for voters; even if there is only one door to the room housing the polling station, separate entrance and exit can be provided with the help of bamboos and ropes in the middle of the doorway. Make sure that the inside of the voting compartment is sufficiently lighted.
If necessary, arrange for a suitable light to be provided for each compartment. there is easy flow of voters from the time they enter the polling station till the time they leave it and there is no criss-cross movement within the polling station; the polling agents are seated in such a way that they can see the face of an elector as and when he enters the polling station and is identified by the first Polling Officer so that they can challenge the identity of the elector, if need be. They should also be able to see the entire operation at the Presiding Officer’s table/the table of third Polling Officer, where the control unit is kept and also see the movement of the elector from (e) (f) he Presiding Officer’s table/the table of third Polling Officer, as the case may be, to the voting compartment and his exit from the polling station after recording his vote. But they should not in any event be seated in a place where they have the chance of seeing the ballot unit and the voter actually recording his vote by pressing particular button; (g) the seating arrangement of all the Polling Officers should also be such that they are not in a position to see the voter actually recording his vote by pressing particular button; the voting compartment should be located at sufficient distance from the table where the control unit shall be kept. The nterconnecting cable between the ballot unit and the control unit has a length of approximately five metres. Therefore, the voting compartment should be reasonably distanced. Also, the cable should be so routed that it does not obstruct the movement of voters inside the polling station and they have not to tread or trip over it, but the entire length of the cable should be visible and under no circumstances be concealed under the cloth or under the table. While placing the EVM in the voting compartment, it must be ensured without fail that secrecy of voting is not violated. It must be ensured that the voting compartment has been made only of cardboard and is of the dimension 21? X21? X21? nd has not been placed near the window/door. It must be placed away from the window/door. A layout plan of the polling station where TWO sets of EVMs are to be used for taking simultaneous poll (i. e. for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections together) is given at Annexure VI A. In the layout, only one door for entry and exit of voters has been shown. However, if the room where the polling station has been set up has two doors, the entry and exit may be arranged from different doors. It may be noted that there shall be TWO separate Voting Compartments – one for keeping the Ballot unit(s) of the Lok Sabha election and the other to keep the Ballot unit(s) of the Vidhan Sabha election.
A Notice with bold letters on each of the “Voting Compartments” with the words ‘VOTING COMPARTMENT – LOK SABHA ELECTION” and “VOTING COMPARTMENT – VIDHAN SABHA ELECTION’ shall be pasted on each of the voting compartments. Voters have to vote in secrecy and for this purpose, the ballot units are required to be kept in voting compartments. A sample drawing of the voting compartment may be seen at Annexure VI. Voting compartment has three sides covered. The ballot unit is to be placed inside the voting compartment on a table. The ballot unit is to be placed in such a way that voters do not find any difficulty in recording their voters. The voting compartment should be located at sufficient distance from the table where the control unit shall be kept and operated.
The interconnecting cable between the ballot unit and the control unit has a (h) Set up of Polling Stations for simultaneous election (a) (b) (c) VOTING COMPARTMENT – SAMPLE DRAWING (d) length of approximately five metres and is permanently attached to the ballot unit. The cable should be so routed that it does not obstruct the movement of voters inside the polling station and they have not to tread or trip over it, but the entire length of the cable should be visible and under no circumstances be concealed under the cloth or under the table. It has to come out from the back portion of the voting compartment through an aperture cut out at the bottom of back portion of the voting compartment.
This aperture should be wide enough so that the portion of the ballot unit, through which the cable comes out is visible from outside. This is necessary to keep a watch that no voter tries to tamper with or damage the cable while inside the voting compartment. However, this aperture in the voting compartment should also not be so wide as to violate the secrecy of voting. While placing the EVM in the voting compartment, it must be ensured without fail that secrecy of voting is not violated. For this purpose, it must be ensured that it is not near the window or the door of the polling station. It must be ensured that the voting compartment has been made only of cardboard and is of the dimension 21? X21? X21? and has been placed away from the window/door. 5. If sufficiently large number of ‘pardanashin’ (burqa-clad) women electors are assigned to your polling station, you should make special arrangements for their identification and application of indelible ink on the left forefinger by a lady polling officer in a separate enclosure having due regard to privacy, dignity and decency. For such special enclosure you may use locally available but absolutely inexpensive devices and using local ingenuity, such as use of charpoys or cloth such as bed spreads. If more polling stations than one are located in the same building, you should satisfy yourself that necessary arrangements have been made for segregating the voters and making them wait in different parts of the space in front of each polling station without causing confusion. If the polling station is located in a private building/private institution, the building and the area around it up to a radius of one hundred metres should be under your control.
No person (chowkidar/guard or anybody else) connected with the owner, whether armed or unarmed, should be allowed to remain either at the polling station or within a radius of two hundred metres around it. The security arrangements at the polling station and within the above area will be entirely the responsibility of the police under your control. No photos of leaders or symbols of any political party or slogans having a bearing on elections should be exhibited and if they are already there, you should take steps to remove them and keep them away, till the poll is over. No cooking or lighting of fire for any purpose should be allowed inside the polling station during the day of the poll.
Display of notice Display prominently outside each polling station(a) a notice specifying the polling area and the particulars of electors to be served by the polling station; and 5. 3 5. 4 5. 5 5. 6 6. 6. 1 6. 2 a copy of the list of contesting candidates in Form 7-A and wherever practicable the facsimile of the symbol of each candidate. The language of the notice should be the same as for the list of contesting candidates and the order of the names should also be the same as in the list of contesting candidate. . VOTING PROCEDURE FOR SIMULTANEOUS ELECTIONS The voters when they enter the polling station will proceed to the first Polling Officer.
The first Polling Officer will identify the electors and make necessary entries in the marked copy of the electoral roll. The method of making necessary entries in the marked copy of the electoral roll has been explained in para 4 (xvi) in Chapter I. The voter will then move to second Polling Officer. The second Polling Officer will first apply the indelible ink mark on his left hand forefinger and ask him to sign or put thumb impression in the voters register. If the voter puts his thumb impression, the polling officer should ask the voter to wipe off the residuary stamp pad ink from his thumb with a piece of wet cloth kept on the table for this purpose.
When the second Polling Officer is applying the indelible ink mark and taking the signature or thumb impression of the voter in the register, the third Polling Officer who will be sharing the Table with the second Polling Officer, will prepare two identical voters slips – one on white paper and the other on pink paper and after examining the finger of the voter to ensure that the indelible ink mark is duly applied and not erased will hand over both the voters slips to the voter and direct him to the fourth Polling Officer. VOTING FOR LOK SABHA After receiving the two voter slips, enabling him to vote for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections respectively, the voter will go to the fourth Polling Officer who is in-charge of the CONTROL UNIT FOR LOK SABHA ELECTION. He will hand over the white voter slip to the fourth Polling Officer.
After satisfying that it is the turn of that voter to vote, the fourth Polling Officer shall press the ‘Ballot’ button on the control unit for the Lok Sabha election kept on his table, and direct the voter to go into the voting compartment for Lok Sabha election. While doing so, the fourth Polling Officer should inform the voter that after voting for Lok Sabha, he should go with the pink voter slip to the fifth Polling Officer to vote for assembly election. The voter will then enter the voting compartment for Lok Sabha election and vote for Lok Sabha election by pressing the blue button of the candidate of his choice on the ballot unit kept inside. (b) 7. . 1 7. 2 7. 3 8. 8. 1 8. 2 VOTING FOR VIDHAN SABHA ELECTION 9 After he has voted for Lok Sabha election, it shall be ensured that the voter goes to the fifth Polling Officer in-charge of control unit for Vidhan Sabha election. After taking the pink voter slip from the voter and ensuring that now it is his turn to vote, the fifth Polling Officer shall activate the machine by pressing the ‘Ballot’ button on the control unit for assembly election and direct the voter to go inside the voting compartment for assembly election to vote. The fifth Polling Officer will also inspect the indelible ink mark to ensure that the same is intact. CHAPTER – VII
SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS AT POLLING STATIONS 1. During elections the Commission deploys Central Police Forces for the smooth conduct of elections. The Local State Police (including all its variants) and Central Paramilitary Forces at the time of elections stand deputed to the Election Commission of India and they come under its superintendence and control for all purposes. The Commission conducts election with the help of all these organs. On the 11th January, 2005 the Hon’ble Supreme Curt in its judgement in Civil Appeal No. 9228 of 2003 gave certain suggestions/directions in the matter of conduct of free and fair election relating to posting of Central Paramilitary Force personnel.
The Commission took the matter into consideration and issued following detailed instructions on the subject to obviate any discretion and ensure uniformity:“The CPF personnel, as per the existing practice, are deployed as static force outside the polling stations. In pursuance to the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order no. 9228 of 2003 (Janak Singh Vs. Ram Das Rai and others) dated 11. 01. 2005, the Commission has directed that in the polling stations with CPF coverage, one CPF Jawan from the CPF party posted at the polling station will be stationed at the entrance of the polling station so that he can keep a watch on the proceedings that are going on inside the polling station, particularly, to ensure that no unauthorized person enters inside the polling station and/or no irregularity is committed either by the polling staff or outsiders in the poll process.
However, it should be ensured that this CPF personnel is not located inside the polling station. The CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the polling stations shall keep a watch specifically on the following: (i) (ii) No unauthorized person is present inside the polling station at any time during the poll. The polling party or the polling agents do not attempt to cast or cast any vote or votes when no voter is present inside the polling booth. No Presiding Officer/polling officer accompanies any voter to the voting compartment. No polling agent or polling officer threatens any voter or makes any gesture to threaten them. No arms are carried inside the polling station. 2. (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) No rigging takes place.
If the CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the polling station discovers violation of the election process as above or observes something unusual going on inside the polling station, he shall not interfere in the poll process but report the same to the officer in-charge of the CPF party at polling station or to the observer. The officer in-charge of CPF party will in turn bring it to the notice of the Returning Officer and also Observer immediately in writing for further necessary action. In the buildings which have more than one polling station and where only half a section of the CPF personnel is deployed, the CPF Jawan selected for duty at the entrance of the polling station may be asked to oscillate from one polling station to ther and look at what is going inside these polling stations and report to the officer in charge of the CPF part or to the observer, if any irregularity is observed by him. Returning Officer/Observer will report cases from where adverse reports are received from the CPF parties for further instructions of the Commission. It is clarified that the CPF Jawans shall be posted at the entrance of only those polling stations, where CPF is deployed. It is further clarified that the CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the polling station shall not verify the identity of electors coming into the polling stations to cast their votes as such verification is the duty of the polling personnel. ” According to the Commission’s instructions, the CPF Jawans should not be positioned inside the polling station.
The Commission further elaborated its directions with reference to the role of CPF and State Police in the conduct of polls as under:“Wherever the CPF arrives in advance for area domination, it shall take out flag marches, point patrolling and other confidence building activities. On the poll-eve (day prior to the poll) the CPF shall take position in and control of the respective polling stations. On the day of the poll, the CPFs shall be primarily responsible for protecting the polling stations and regulating the entry inside the polling stations. One jawan of the CPF party shall be deployed at the door of the polling station (either in static or oscillating mode) in order to observe the proceedings that are going on inside the polling station, as per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court. Besides, the Coy.
Commanders of CPFs will also move in their respective polling station areas as an area domination force and confidence building measure in the catchment area of polling stations. In a polling station, in case CPF has not reached the polling station due to any reason, the poll shall not commence. The Local State Police shall remain responsible for maintenance of the general law and order in the catchment area of the polling stations, as well as the inside and outside of the polling premises (as different from polling stations). In the polling stations covered by CPF, whenever, the Local State Police gets deployed inside the polling premises, they shall station themselves at a reasonable distance from the polling station and the queue of electors.
It is advised that one or two unarmed Local State Police persons/Home Guards be posted at each polling premises so that if required, reinforcement could be called for. In any case, Local State Police shall not replace the CPF at the polling stations and no senior officer of the local state police, with or without contingent shall position himself at the polling station and exercise any supervision and control over the CPF at the polling station. The Local State Police, however, in exceptional circumstances can get deployed at polling stations, only if enough CPF is not available, and that too under specific instructions of the Commission through its observer. Responsibility of maintenance of law and order shall rest solely with the local State Police.
The Commission has instructed that hamlets/habitations within a polling station area that are vulnerable to threat, intimidation and undue influence shall be identified and all necessary confidence building and preventive measures shall be taken in advance. The Local State Police shall attach utmost importance to this task and shall also ensure that there is no hindrance to voters of such pockets in exercising their franchise on the day of poll. After the poll is completed, the polled EVMs and the Presiding Officers shall be escorted by a contingent of CPF to the Reception Center. Details in this regard shall be worked out by the DEO and SP in consultation with Observer in advance. The CPF shall also be responsible for guarding the Strong Room where the polled EVMs are stored and kept till the day of counting. ” CHAPTER VIII 4 ASSIGNMENT OF DUTIES TO POLLING OFFICERS 1.
Voting procedure in polling station and duties of Polling Officers It is important that for efficient and smooth conduct of poll at your polling station, you should be thoroughly conversant with the procedure that is to be followed from the time an elector comes into the polling station and till he leaves it after casting his vote. Such voting procedure and the duties which each Polling Officer has to perform are explained in detail in subsequent chapters. However, a broad distribution of duties among the Polling Officers is indicated below. 2. Duties of Polling Officers at single election to the House of the People/Legislative Assembly when polling party consists of one Presiding Officer and three Polling Officers. First Polling Officer The first Polling Officer will be in charge of the marked copy of electoral roll and responsible for identification of electors. On entering the Polling Station, the elector will proceed direct to the first Polling Officer.
That Polling Officer will satisfy himself about the identity of the elector by following the procedure prescribed under chapter XVIII. 2. 1 3. 1 Second Polling Officer The second Polling Officer will be in charge of indelible ink. After the election has been identified by the first Polling Officer, the second Polling Officer will inspect the elector’s left hand forefinger to see that it does not bear any sign or trace of indelible ink and then put a mark with the indelible ink on the voter’s left hand forefinger. The indelible ink will be applied on voter’s left hand forefinger as a line from the top end of the nail to the bottom of the first joint of the left forefinger as shown in the diagram below:- 3. 2
The second Polling Officer will also be in-charge of the register of voters in Form 17A. He will be responsible for maintaining in that register the proper account of electors whose identity has been established and who vote at the polling station. He will obtain the signature or thumb impression of each elector in that register before the elector is allowed to vote. The second Polling Officer will also issue a voter’s slip to each elector after he has entered his (elector’s) particulars in the register of voters in accordance with the procedure described in XIX. It should be ensured that sufficient time has elapsed after the indelible ink mark was put so that the mark dries up by the time he leaves the polling station.
For this purpose, only after the mark of indelible ink is applied, signature/thumb impression may be obtained in the register of voters. It should be ensured that the indelible ink mark has dried up before the voter leaves the polling station. 4. 4. 1 Third Polling Officer The third Polling Officer will be in-charge of the control unit of the voting machine. He will be seated on the same table where the Second Polling Officer sits. The third Polling Officer will allow the elector to proceed to the voting compartment only on the basis of the voter’s slip issued by the second Polling Officer and strictly in accordance with the serial number indicated in that slip.
He will activate the Ballot Unit(s) kept in the voting compartment by pressing the ‘Ballot’ button on the control unit as explained in detail in Chapter XX. Before allowing the elector to proceed to the voting compartment, he will also check and ensure that the elector’s left hand forefinger still bears a clear indelible ink mark. (If the indelible ink mark is found removed, the mark may again be made on the forefinger). Where the number of electors assigned to a polling station is small, the duties of the third Polling Officer can be performed by the Presiding Officer himself, thus making a further economy in the formation of Polling Parties. 4. 2
Duties of Polling Officers at simultaneous election when the polling party consists of one Presiding Officer and five Polling Officers. First Polling Officer He will be identifying the electors and will be in-charge of marked copy of the electoral roll. Second Polling Officer He will be in-charge of the indelible ink and voters register. Third Polling Officer He will be in-charge of the voter’s slip. Fourth Polling Officer He will be in-charge of the control unit for Lok Sabha election. Fifth Polling Officer He will be in-charge of the control unit for State assembly election. IMPORTANT DUTIES OF 4th & 5th POLLING OFFICERS It may appear that the 4th and 5th Polling Officers have been given a very easy job.
On the contrary, the success of simultaneous election depends on their alertness. Their job is not only to simply press the ‘Ballot’ button to activate the voting machine, but they have also to ensure that each elector votes in his/her turn exactly in the same serial order as has been given in the voters slip. They have also to keep a constant watch to ensure that when they direct any elector to go and vote, the elector goes into the correct voting compartment and votes accordingly. Due to ignorance or otherwise, if any elector seems to be not sure as to where to go and what to do after he has been allowed to vote, it is the duty of these two Polling Officers to ensure that the elector follows the correct procedure.
Specially, during the first hour of poll, when there is usually a lot of rush, they must keep their cool and see that the voting proceeds smoothly. Whenever there is a respite and in any case after every one hour of poll, they should also tally the total votes polled with the total number of voters as shown in the voters register and as displayed in the two control units. 5. The Presiding Officer is over all in-charge of the polling station. His duties are, in brief, to (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) (ix) Place the Ballot Units in their respective voting compartments. In no case the Ballot Unit or the Control Unit be placed on the floor.
It must be kept on a table; Connect the Ballot Units with their respective control units; Switch on the power; Demonstrate before the hour fixed for actual commencement of the poll to the candidates/agents present that the voting machines are clear and do not contain any votes; Conduct mock poll to ensure and demonstrate to the polling agents that the EVM is in perfect working condition; Clear the mock poll result; Prepare the Certificate of mock poll; (Certificate of mock poll is at ANNEXURE XVII) You should be clear that according to the Commission’s instructions, if there is no mock poll at a polling station, there shall be no poll at that polling station Ensure that on the green paper seal fixed in the CONTROL UNIT FOR LOK SABHA ELECTION only the candidates for the Lok Sabha election or their polling agents, who are present at the polling station at than time, affix their signatures, and similarly, on the green paper seal fixed in the CONTROL UNIT
FOR ASSEMBLY ELEECTION, the candidates for assembly election or their polling agents alone affix their signatures; See that voting compartments have been properly arranged with appropriate posters pasted outside to indicate clearly the election pertaining to which the Ballot Unit is kept inside; Ensure that the cables to connect the Ballot Units with their respective control units are placed in such a way that the cable is visible to everyone while also ensuring that the voters are not required to cross over them during their movements inside the polling station and the entire length of the connecting cable is visible to all and not hidden. It should also be ensured that the cable does not hand loose under the voting compartment; Ensure that all the members of the polling party are in position well before the commencement of the poll and all materials and records are kept handy and ready to commence poll at the appointed hour; Prevent any member of the polling party or any polling agent from wandering here or there inside the polling station and to keep them seated in their allocated seats; (x) (xi) (xii) (xiii)
Commence the actual poll at the stroke of the hour fixed for commencement of poll; (xv) Keep, during the progress of poll, a close watch on the movements of the voters and to be alert and watchful so that no voter goes away without voting; (xvi) Ensure that during the first hour of the poll when polling is generally brisk, no member of the polling party shows any slackness in the duties allocated to him; (xvii) Check the total votes cast periodically on both the control units and also to ensure that voters have voted in acceding to their serial numbers given on the voter’s slip; (xviii) Ensure that in simultaneous election, copies of Form 17C for parliamentary election are supplied to polling agents of the candidates in parliamentary constituency only and copies of Form 17C for the assembly election are given only to the agents of candidates of assembly constituency. (xix) At regular intervals check the ballot unit to ensure that the voter has not tampered with it in any manner. The voter already in queue at the time fixed for close of poll will be allowed to vote. 6. 6. 1 CLOSING THE POLL The Presiding Officer should ensure that the poll is duly closed at the end of the polling hour as per the prescribed voting procedures. After the last voter has voted as per the above procedure, he must press the ‘CLOSE’ button on the control units.
After prescribed forms have been carefully and duly filled, he must disconnect the Ballot Units from the control units and seal them in their respective carrying cases. In the case of simultaneous election, the papers should be prepared and sealed separately. At simultaneous election the Presiding Officer should ensure that the CARRYING CASES of all the units have Identity Stickers of the concerned elections prominently pasted on the outside. He should also ensure that the Ballot Units and control units are placed ONLY IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CARRYING CASES WITH THE ELECTION IDENTITY LABEL FIRMLY PASTED. Further, he should also fix the duly filled in address tags of correct colour (White for Lok Sabha Election and Pink for Assembly Election) to the respective carrying cases.
Presiding Officer should ensure that all the sealed Units and election records are duly handed over to the Returning Officer, at the reception center, as per the prescribed procedure. (xiv) 6. 2 6. 3 10 CHAPTER IX REGULATION OF ENTRY INTO AND SEATING ARRANGEMENTS IN THE POLLING STATION 1. 1. 1 Persons entitled to enter the Polling Stations In addition to the electors assigned to your polling station, only the following persons can be admitted into the Polling Station:(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) 1. 2 Polling Officers; Each candidate, his election agent and one duly appointed polling agent of each candidate at a time; Persons authorised by the Commission such as media persons, microobservers; Public servants on duty in onnection with election; Observers appointed by the Commission; A child in arms accompanying an elector; A person accompanying a blind or an infirm voter who cannot move without help; and Such other persons as you may from time to time admit for the purpose of identifying voters or otherwise assisting you in taking the poll. The Returning Officers have been asked to issue identity cards to the contesting candidates bearing their photographs. In case a necessity arises, you may ask for its production when they visit the polling station. Similarly, the election agents of the candidates can be asked to produce the duplicate copy of their appointment letter, which is attested by the Returning Officer and also bears the photograph of the election agent. You should note that the term “Public servant on duty in connection with election” does not normally include police officers.
Such officers, whether in uniform or in plain clothes, should not, as a general rule, be allowed to enter inside the polling booth. You may, however, call them in occasionally for the maintenance of law and order or some similar purpose, whenever the necessity arises. Their presence in the polling booth without any compelling reason has on occasions given rise to complaints by some candidates or parties who have alleged that their agents had been overawed by unnecessary show of force. Similarly, security personnel, if any, accompanying an elector or candidate or his election agent or polling agent should also not be allowed to enter the polling station.
You should also note that the above expression, “Public servant on duty in connection with election” does not also include the Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the Union and the States. The Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the Union and the States, who have been given security cover at the State expense are not allowed to function as polling agents, as they can neither be allowed to enter the polling station 1. 3 1. 4 1. 5 alongwith their security personnel nor their lives can be put to risk by allowing them to enter the polling station without any security cover. As per standing instructions, the Security personnel accompanying Ministers or political functionaries, who enter the polling station in their capacity as candidates for elections, shall not be allowed entry inside the polling station.
They can wait standing at the door of the polling station, but shall not, in any circumstances do any act amounting to interfere in the conduct of poll. 1. 6 Entry of persons should be strictly regulated as detailed above, otherwise, the smooth and orderly conduct of poll may be vitiated. You should allow only three or four electors to enter the polling station at a time. If you have a reasonable doubt about the presence of any person, about whose credentials you have a reasonable suspicion, in the polling booth, you can have him searched, if necessary, even though the person concerned may be in possession of a valid authority letter to enter the polling booth.
In the performance of your duties, you are only bound by the instructions of the Election Commission. You are not to take orders from or show any favour to your official superiors or political leaders including Ministers. Even in the matter of requests for entry into the polling booth from these, you should allow them only if they are in possession of a valid authority letter issued by the Election Commission. A village officer or other officer or a woman attendant, who has been employed by you for helping you in the identification of electors or to assist you otherwise in taking the poll, should normally, be seated outside the entrance of the polling station.
He/she should be admitted into the polling station only when he/she is required for identification of a particular elector or for assisting you for a particular purpose in connection with the taking of the poll. No one inside the polling station should be allowed to influence or try to influence the electors by words or gestures to vote in a particular way. CPF personnel to keep a watch on the proceedings in the polling station It is brought to your notice that the CPF personnel, as per the existing practice, are deployed as static force outside the polling stations. In pursuance to the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order no. 9228 of 2003 (Janak Singh Vs. Ram Das Rai and others) dated 11. 01. 2005, the Commission has directed that in the polling stations with CPF coverage, one
CPF Jawan from the CPF party posted at the polling station will be stationed at the entrance of the polling station so that he can keep a watch on the proceedings that are going on inside the polling station, particularly, to ensure that no unauthorized person enters inside the polling station and/or no irregularity is committed either by the polling staff or outsiders in the poll process. However, it should be ensured that this CPF personnel is not located inside the polling station. The CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the polling stations shall keep a watch specifically on the following: (vii) No unauthorized person is present inside the polling station at any time during the poll. 1. 7 1. 8 1. 9 2. (viii) (ix) (x) (xi) (xii) The polling party or the polling agents do not attempt to cast or cast any vote or votes when no voter is present inside the polling booth. No Presiding Officer/polling officer accompanies any voter to the voting compartment.
No polling agent or polling officer threatens any voter or makes any gesture to threaten them. No arms are carried inside the polling station. No rigging takes place. If the CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the polling station discovers violation of the election process as above or observes something unusual going on inside the polling station, he shall not interfere in the poll process but report the same to the officer in-charge of the CPF party at polling station or to the observer. The officer in-charge of CPF party will in turn bring it to the notice of the Returning Officer and also Observer immediately in writing for further necessary action. In the buildings which ave more than one polling station and where only half a section of the CPF personnel is deployed, the CPF Jawan selected for duty at the entrance of the polling station may be asked to oscillate from one polling station to other and look at what is going inside these polling stations and report to the officer in charge of the CPF part or to the observer, if any irregularity is observed by him. Cases from where adverse reports are received from the CPF parties, will be reported by the Returning Officer/Observer to the Commission for further instructions of the Commission. According to the Commission’s instructions, the CPF Jawans shall be posted at the entrance of only those polling stations where CPF is deployed.
Further the CPF Jawan posted at the entrance of the Polling Station shall not verify the identity of electors coming into the polling stations to cast their votes as such verification is the duty of the polling personnel. He should not be positioned inside the polling station. 3. 3. 1 Production of appointment letters by polling agents The Commission has recently reviewed its earlier instructions/directions in regard to the appointment of polling agents and modified them to be followed scrupulously. The Commission has directed that the polling agents, who are appointed by contesting candidates, shall be ordinarily resident and electors of the concerned polling areas only. Such polling agents must have Electors’ Photo Identity Cards.
In case elector, who has been proposed to be appointed as polling agent by the contesting candidate, does not have his Electors’ Photo Identity Card, the Returning Officer shall make necessary arrangements for issue of Electors’ Photo Identity Card to such elector on written request from the concerned contesting candidate or his election agent. You must ensure that all the polling agents display their Electors’ Photo Identity Cards prominently on their persons on the day of poll for easy and quick identification. 3. 2 Every polling agent must produce before you the appointment letter in Form 10 by which the candidate or his election agent has appointed him. Check that the appointment is for your polling station. After it confirmed that that polling agent has been appointed for your polling station, the polling agent hould complete the document and sign the declaration therein in your presence and then deliver it to you before he can be admitted into the polling station. Preserve all such appointment letters and at the end of the poll send them in a cover to the Returning Officer along with other documents. In case of any doubt about the genuineness of the appointment letter in the said Form 10 of any polling agent presented before you, you should compare the specimen signature of the candidate/his election agent with their specimen signatures as provided by the Returning Officer. Attendance of polling agents The polling agents of the candidates should be asked to reach the polling station at least one hour before commencement of poll, so that they are present when you are going through the preliminaries.
If any part of these preliminaries has already been gone through and missed by any latecomer, the proceedings need not be commenced de novo (from the very beginning) to accommodate any latecomer. The law does not specify any time limit for the appointment of polling agents and even if a polling agent turns up late at a polling station, he should be allowed to participate in the further proceedings at the polling station. Passes for polling agents Each candidate can appoint one polling agent and two relief polling agents at each polling station. However, only one polling agent of a candidate should be allowed inside the polling station at any given point of time.
Give every polling agent, who is admitted into the polling station, a permit or entry pass on the authority of which he can come in and go out of the polling station as may be necessary. However it should be ensured that the polling agents do not take the copy of the electoral roll outside the polling station. Further, during the last one hour of the poll, no polling agent shall be allowed to go outside or leave the polling station. As per the standing instructions of the Commission, polling agents shall not be allowed to take cellular phones, cordless phones, wireless sets etc. , in any case inside the polling stations 3. 3 4. 4. 1 4. 2 5. 6. 6. 1
Seating Arrangement of polling agents in the polling station The set up of polling station should be made in such a way that the polling agents are seated inside the polling stations so that they may see the face of an elector as and when he enters the polling station so that they can challenge the identity of the elector, if needed. They should also be able to watch entire operation inside the polling station including his/her movement to the voting compartment and his/her exit from the polling station after recording his/her vote. But they should not, in any event, be seated in a place where they have the chance of seeing voter actually recording his/her vote which would compromise secrecy of voting.
For this purpose it will be preferable if you give the polling agents seats closely behind the Polling Officer in-charge of marked copy of the electoral roll. Wherever this is not practicable because of the situation of the door for entrance, they may be given seat just opposite the polling officers. 6. 2 In case of a polling station, which has very small & insufficient space or where the respective constituency is having abnormally large number of contesting candidates warranting the presence of a large number of polling agents, in such cases where polling agents can not be accommodated, Observer(s) shall be consulted for appropriate advice and consent of the Observer(s) shall be obtained.
According to the latest instructions of the Commission, the seating order at the polling station for the polling agents of candidates shall be guided by the following categories of priorities, namely:(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) 25 6. 3 Candidates of recognised National Parties; Candidates of recognised State Parties; Candidates of recognised State Parties of other states who have been permitted to use their reserved symbols in the constituency; Candidates of Registered Unrecognised Parties; and Independent Candidates 7. Smoking prohibited inside polling station No smoking is allowed inside the polling station. You must, therefore, ensure that nobody smokes inside your polling station. If any of the polling agents desires to smoke, he may be asked to go out of the polling station without causing any dislocation to the polling. 8. 8. 1
Facilities to press representatives and photographers and videography at the polling station The Commission has already issued instructions for videography of critical events of the election process and also at hypersensitive and sensitive polling stations to the extent possible. In deference to the suggestion of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Commission has now instructed that videography of the poll proceedings may be carried out inside the polling station also in consultation with the Observer. However, proper care shall be taken to ensure that while doing the videography, the same does not violate the secrecy of vote, i. e. , it should be ensured that a voter recording vote should not be videograhed. No photography/videography shall, however, be allowed by the medial persons or by any other unauthorized persons inside the polling station, to maintain general order and secrecy of vote.
Similarly, there is no objection to any photographer taking photographs of a crowd of electors lining up outside the polling station subject to the maintenance of peace and order. He should not, however, in any circumstances be allowed to take photographs inside the polling station. At the same time, nobody will be allowed to take a photograph of an elector 8. 2 recording his/her vote on the Ballot Unit of the voting machine in any circumstances. 8. 3 Neither the Chief Electoral Officer nor the Returning Officer is empowered to authorise any person who is not an elector or who is not required to assist you in taking the poll, to enter a polling station.
Any such person, including publicity officials of the State Government, should not be allowed inside a polling station without a letter of authority from the Commission. Facilities to Observers appointed by Commission The Commission is now generally appointing its observers at elections. They are statutory authorities appointed by the Commission under Section 20 B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. a) 9. 2 During the day of poll, an observer might visit your polling station. It is quite possible that he may start his round of the constituency with the visit to your polling station and may be present there when you are going through the preliminaries before the commencement of poll.
You expected to show him due courtesy and regard when he visits your polling station and should furnish him with such information as he may require from you for the purpose of his report to the Commission. You should also make available to the Observer additional information, which you may be having with you over and above routine information. You are also expected to make available to the Observer/Micro-Observer the list of Absentee, Shifted and Duplicate voter (ASD list) at the polling station. The Observers have already been briefed and directed that they will only observe the poll being taken at your polling station, but will not give you any direction.
If, however, he makes any suggestion with a view to providing more convenience to electors or making the poll process at your polling station smoother, you should give due consideration to such suggestion. At the same time, in case, you are facing any particular problem or feeling any difficulty at your polling station, you are at liberty to bring it to his notice, as he might be of help to you in solving that problem or removing that difficulty by bringing the matter to the notice of the Returning Officer or any other concerned authorities for necessary remedial action. 9. 9. 1 9. 3 The Observers will be wearing badges issued by the Commission on their person and will also be carrying appointment letters and authority letters issued by the Commission.
The observers should be requested to sign the ‘Visit Sheet’, which shall be given to you stapled alongwith the Presiding Officer’s Diary. You shall deposit the same after the end of the poll alongwith the Presiding Officer’s Diary. As it is sometimes not possible for the general observer to visit each and every polling station in the constituency allotted to him or to be present at a polling station for full time, the Commission has consciously decided recently to manage the elections at the polling stations with the help of micromanagement by deploying micro-observers wherever necessary to strengthen the system of observation,. These micro-observers would directly be working 9. 4 under the control and supervision of the general observer.
The microobservers are expected to reach the polling station one hour before the commencement of the poll, i. e. , at 7 O’clock in the morning and remain deployed at the polling station throughout the day. He has to assess the preparedness for the poll and during the poll day he would regularly note down the important points on the pre-printed Proforma, but in no case the micro-observer will act as Presiding Officer or the Polling Officer or give any directions to them. His task is to observe that election process is being carried out in a free and fair manner and there is no vitiation of any kind. In multi-polling station buildings each location will have one micro-observer instead of one micro-observer per polling station.
The micro-observer can oscillate between and visit the polling stations within the same campus at frequent intervals. General Observers will be in close touch with them for their requirements of micro-observers relating to their constituencies. Each micro-observer shall have a photo-pass and identity card issued by the DEO to ensure his access to the polling stations. In the process of observation on the day of the poll, the micro-observer should specially observe:b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) Mock Poll Procedures Presence of Polling Agents and observance of ECI instructions with regard to them The observance of entry pass system and access to Polling Station guidelines Proper identification of electors in accordance with ECI Procedute to be