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March 26, 2024

Ensuring Electoral Participation: EC Implements Scheme for Kashmiri Migrants’ Voting Rights in Lok Sabha Elections

The Election Commission (EC) has taken significant strides to facilitate the electoral participation of Kashmiri migrants in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. In a recent announcement, the EC introduced a comprehensive scheme ensuring that Kashmiri migrants can exercise their voting rights, a crucial aspect of democratic representation.

The scheme, tailored for voters of the Baramulla, Srinagar, and Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituencies who have migrated due to compelling circumstances, extends the provision of voting through postal ballots and special polling stations. This initiative reflects the EC’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility in the electoral process.

Divided into two categories, “specified” and “notified” voters, the scheme aims to streamline the voting process for Kashmiri migrants. For those opting to cast their votes in person, 26 special polling stations will be established, with locations spanning Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi. These stations will accommodate migrant voters residing in relief camps, offering them the opportunity to vote using electronic voting machines.

Alternatively, migrants can opt for postal ballots by submitting Form 12C, ensuring flexibility and convenience in exercising their franchise. To avail this option, applicants must ensure that their filled Form 12C reaches the assistant returning officer in Jammu at least 10 days before the respective polling dates.

Moreover, the EC has appointed four assistant returning officers (AROs) to facilitate the voting process for “specified” and “notified” electors. These officers, stationed in key locations such as Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi, will play a pivotal role in assisting migrant voters throughout the electoral process.

To streamline procedures further, the EC has introduced an online facility enabling migrants residing outside designated areas to download necessary forms from the poll panel’s website. After completing the forms, migrants can approach the office of the electoral registration officer (ERO) in their current place of residence to submit their applications, ensuring a seamless process regardless of geographical location.

Utilizing technology to enhance efficiency, EROs will verify details provided in Form M and Form 12C through the ERO-Net platform. Once verified, these details will be electronically transmitted to the respective AROs, expediting the process and minimizing administrative hurdles.

Furthermore, the EC has ensured transparency by mandating the scanning and uploading of verified forms, facilitating direct communication between migrants and electoral authorities. Postal ballots, dispatched via speed post by the ARO Migrant in Jammu, will ensure timely delivery, enabling migrants to participate in the electoral process without constraints.

In essence, the EC’s scheme for Kashmiri migrants underscores a commitment to democratic principles, ensuring that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to exercise their voting rights. By implementing measures to accommodate migrants’ unique circumstances, the EC not only promotes inclusivity but also strengthens the foundations of democracy in the region.

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